Emergency Radio Coverage Building Codes in New Jersey
Whether you own or manage a private or public building, new International Fire Code (IFC) requires an additional crucial protection in their building security. Emergency responders depend on reliable two-way communications during an emergency; however, many large buildings have reduced signal strength because of things like underground structures or specific building materials. 100% radio coverage is critical to manage any emergency.
The IFC states, “All new buildings shall have approved radio coverage for emergency responders within the building based upon the existing coverage levels of the public safety communication systems of the jurisdiction at the exterior of the building..” This pertains to buildings constructed after 2015. And the NFPA 72 Section 24.5.2 (2013 Edition) states that radio coverage shall be provided with 99 percent floor area coverage in critical areas and 90 percent floor area radio coverage in general building areas. www.nfpa.org
Emergency responder radio communications signal boosters are a code-required part of life safety systems which must be regularly maintained and inspected. These requirements are determined by building size, new construction, existing buildings and renovations. A few highlights to be aware of per the IFC code are as follows for new or existing buildings: (read the full IFC code here)
Sections 510 & 1103 510.1 Emergency Responder Radio Coverage in New Buildings
· All new buildings shall have approved radio coverage for emergency responders within the building based upon the existing coverage levels of the public safety communication systems of the jurisdiction at the exterior of the building. This section shall not require improvement of the existing public safety communication systems.
1. Where approved by the building official and the fire code official, a wired communication system in accordance with Section 907.2.13.2 shall be permitted to be installed or maintained instead of an approved radio coverage system.
2. Where it is determined by the fire code official that the radio coverage system is not needed.
3. In facilities where emergency responder radio coverage is required and such systems, components or equipment required could have a negative impact on the normal operations of that facility, the fire code official shall have the authority to accept an automatically activated emergency responder radio coverage system.
510.4.2.4 Signal Booster Requirements
· If used, signal boosters shall meet the following requirements:
1. All signal booster components shall be contained in a National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association (NEMA) 4-type waterproof cabinet.
2. Battery systems used for the emergency power source shall be contained in a NEMA 4-type waterproof cabinet.
3. The signal booster system and battery system shall be electrically supervised and monitored by a supervisory service, or when approved by the fire code official, shall sound an audible signal at a constantly attended location.
4. Equipment shall have FCC certification prior to installation.
510.2 Emergency Responder Radio Coverage in Existing Buildings
· Existing buildings shall be provided with approved radio coverage for emergency responders as required in Chapter 11.
510.5.4 FCC Compliance
· The emergency responder radio coverage system installation and components shall also comply with all applicable federal regulations including, but not limited to, FCC 47 CFR Part 90.219.
1103.2 Emergency Responder Radio Coverage in Existing Buildings
· Existing buildings that do not have approved radio coverage for emergency responders within the building, based upon the existing coverage levels of the public safety communication systems of the jurisdiction at the exterior of the building, shall be equipped with such coverage according to one of the following:
1. Where an existing wired communication system cannot be repaired or is being replaced, or where not approved in accordance with Section 510.1, Exception 1.
2. Within a time frame established by the adopting authority.
Communication is critical in any emergency and First Responders depend on it to survive. To meet all public safety frequency band ranges, ensure that happens with the installation of a Bi-Directional Amplifier in your building. Start by hiring a security consultant that can provide a Radio Frequency Survey on your building.
Learn about NFPA Code required Emergency Radio Communication Enhancement System (ERCES) in the following video clip. Click Here.
Tech Services Security LLC is a Certified Notifier BDA Installer, Authorized Notifier Fire Alarm Dealer, NICET Certified and fully licensed in NJ, NY and PA. TSS offers the BDA solution combined with industry leading fire systems for a total integrated security solution.