EMERGENCY RESPONDER RADIO COMMUNICATION SYSTEM (ERRCS)
If there is an emergency in your building, will all inside be able to communicate with the outside for help? Will you or your employees be able to get all tenants and guests to safety? It’s mandatory that all occupants must be able to dial 911 from their cell. First responders must be able to communicate with other emergency personnel that is outside the building. You must be capable of managing evacuation, signal systems, and communication.
There are so many buildings that are built out of materials that interfere or impede cellular or ordinary communication signals. It is now imperative that you add elements to boost cell signals inside building walls so as to ensure all compliance with public safety.
What is an ERRCS?
It is now a requirement in many buildings around our country to have an ERRCS, or Emergency Responder Radio Communication System, implemented. ERRCS serves as an in-building communication system that improves critical communications inside and outside a building. An extension of the public safety network, ERRCS utilizes a series of smaller antennas that form a Distributed Antenna System (DAS). This allows all users to transmit and receive radio signals from the network of first-responders.
The ERRCS is made up of a few components that professionally installed inside a building. This is achieved by connecting a Bi-Directional Amplifier (BDA) system to the donor antenna. This antenna is used to transmit and receive proper radio frequencies from the local public safety network. The BDA summarily connects via fiber or cable to a DAS. This is where signals are then re-amplified completely throughout the building in areas that without have poor or, at best, limited coverage.
Typically set by the “authority having jurisdiction,” requirements for a municipality are determined by the contact point, such as a fire marshall or similar to maintain local codes. These recommendations are based on International Fire Code (IFC), section 510, and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), code 72.
In recent times, the requirements for building safety and communication systems set forth by the IFC and NFPA have been updated summarily. While this is not an all-encompassing list, here are some typical requirements for public safety compliance and ones your building’s management should strongly consider before installing an ERRCS.
Common ERRCS requirements
ERRCS are required on buildings three or more stories or with an area greater than 50,000 square feet or containing underground parking. The bigger a building is, and the more complex, the more difficult it is to keep the signal strong in every area. Buildings are often constructed from dense materials like concrete, metal, wood, brick, and low-E glass. This can disrupt or completely block communication signals entering and leaving said building.
Also playing a part in interference are multi-room layouts and thick walls. Ensuring the proper RF signal has amplification throughout the building will help to see to safety and communication, which is pertinent for IFC compliance.
Special training and an FCC General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL) are requirements to adjust, repair, or maintain FCC (Federal Communications Commission) radiotelephone transmitters. Choosing a reputable company such as C3 Communications to perform testing and installation of your responder system is important to ensure compliance.
It’s necessary to amplify certain radio frequencies used for emergency services within commercial buildings. C3 will place DAS or signal boosters in specific areas of buildings. This ensures the safety of all occupants and their safe evacuation from the building in the event of an emergency.
Buildings need to have a 95% majority of minimum signal strength of -95 dBm. Emergency responder communication units use this standard signal strength. The DAS boosts the signal enough so that it meets the requirement.
ERRCS testing is a requirement for compliance. In order to keep interference to a minimum and to ensure critical safety standards, annual testing and maintenance of all emergency systems is vital. C3 is licensed, certified, and has detailed knowledge of the current codes.
NEMA 4 Enclosures
NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) 4 enclosures are required to protect equipment and personnel from weather, hazards, dust, and dirt. It is of utmost importance to have functioning equipment in the case of an emergency. Particulates can damage equipment thus degrading the signals, so protecting them with NEMA 4 enclosures will ensure longer life and better reliability.
Remaining calm during an emergency situation can save lives. Paging systems and fire panels are connected to communication systems. Even though ERRCS is not a fire protection system, per se, it does work in conjunction with all other systems in the building. Among those are systems that announce instructions to building occupants to ensure their safety should there be an emergency.
In the case of a power outage in the building, battery back-ups are a requirement. Should an emergency arise, power might need to be turned off to part of or the entire building. Knowing there is a reliable battery backup that acts as a failsafe for the emergency systems is critical.
Signal boosters and certified equipment are a requirement. Reliable signal boosters are our specialty. C3 has a wide selection of boosters to fit any building needs.
To comply with public safety regulations, ERRCS testing and re-certification are important. C3 can help bring your building up to compliance with current standards. At C3, our specialty is working with you and the local authorities to design a reliable public safety network signal and obtain a Certificate of Occupancy.
Let the team at C3 Test Your Public Safety Compliance
The only way to find out if you are in compliance with your local public safety building codes is to have a test done. This test will check all areas of the building for signal strength and will determine where amplification of the signal needs to be increased. This test will check every requirement of the NFPC and IFC codes and allows us to make recommendations on where you need to improve.
C3 can perform FREE ERRCS testing on your building and let you know if you need to add antennas or signal boosters to amplify the signal in parts of your building. Installing an ERRCS system that works cleanly and efficiently is one of our specialties. Sometimes, certain considerations will be undertaken to reduce interference and to allow a clear signal to transmit freely. If a system is of poor design it will not deploy effectively and can end up doing more harm than good. From floor plan analysis, system design, and site surveys, we are experts in all areas of the building installation. Call our experts today!