Is Your Building Fully Fire Code Compliant?

The importance of public safety communications

First responders’ radio communications systems work in an array of ways, both through a dedicated system or by direct communication with victims through their cell phones. 

Even in the most remote areas of a building, particularly stairwells and basements, first aid services must be provided as quickly and effectively as possible, as uninterrupted communication is crucial in emergencies.

Emergency communications systems are interpreted by local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs). However, the complexity of these systems does not absolve building owners of their obligation to comply, as owners cannot receive a Certificate of Occupancy without an Emergency Responder Radio Communication System, or an ERRCS System, and a Distributed Antenna System, or DAS, that complies with the local AHJ’s rules and regulations.

 

Local requirements and compliance

Ensuring compliance with local rules and authorities is paramount for any business seeking to operate under the Rule of Law; as such, building owners and facility managers should inquire with their local AHJ regarding compliance in their area of development and operation. 

Most US towns and counties have local laws and regulations requiring first responders to have proper in-building coverage, ensuring reliable coverage to be occupied. The codes enforced by a local AHJ must be met and consistently upheld to get a Certificate of Occupancy and be eligible for its renewal.

The building owner must assess and test their structure and, if necessary, install, test, maintain, and update an ERRCS system. 

 

Interpretation of public safety communication codes

In the interest of standardizing the approach to public safety and communications, local authorities revert to regulations drafted by various organizations, such as: 

  • National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)
  • International Fire Code (IFC)
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • International Code Council (ICC)
  • International Building Code (IBC)
  • FirstNet

 

No single set of regulations is established at the federal level; thus, building owners and facility managers need to comprehend the codes implemented by the local AHJ. Because there are no standardized norms, compliance is challenging because each jurisdiction will have slightly different regulations.

This lack of standardization is also a gateway into designing smart solutions that focus on upholding occupant and first responder safety. Such solutions offer a two-pronged approach, such as a distributed antenna system, which can offer much needed business development opportunities while maintaining safety uses. 

Smaller communities may follow the terminology in the IFC and NFPA rules rather than constructing their own, while larger cities may choose to render their public safety communication codes.

Suppose the idea of a DAS or ERRCS system seems complicated and laced with bureaucratic red tape, at DAS Systems, in that case, our expert team can help you navigate the complexity of compliance and regulations of your local authorities and make sure your building is fully fire code compliant.

 

Contact us to learn more about how we can help provide you with value engineering from start to finish.

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