Distributed antenna systems (DAS) allow providers to extend wireless coverage in large buildings or oversized structures like sports arenas. They do the work of one powerful device using a network of connected smaller antennas to improve signal and are especially important to first responders in emergency situations. When there’s a fire, earthquake, or violent attack, it’s critical police, fire, and medical personnel have uninterrupted communication both inside and out.
Where DAS Is Necessary for Public Safety
The events of 9/11 emphasized the importance of reliable radio coverage. Because there was poor radio frequency signal between the two buildings, firefighters couldn’t communicate with each other. After that day, most states adopted building codes that require new construction be designed with unobstructed communication and older buildings receive updates to make it possible.
Jurisdictional guidelines from International Fire Code (IFC) 510 suggest all new buildings have approved radio coverage where signal strength stays strong in 95 percent of the building. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires a 99 percent coverage in the areas vital to firefighting. The guidelines also require existing buildings to retrofit systems, replacing wiring as necessary. Here are some examples of locations where DAS is critical.
- Parking garages
- High-rise buildings
- College campuses
- Traffic tunnels
- Shopping malls
- Concert and sports venues
Benefits of Public Safety DAS
DAS enables first responders to communicate so they can ensure their own safety in high-risk situations and better serve the people they protect.
When a police officer rushes up a stairwell in pursuit of a criminal, what he has to say to the officers behind him can make the difference between life and death. If first responders must access a high-rise building to apprehend a shooter, as recently happened in Las Vegas, a loss of coverage can waste precious seconds.
DAS provides the following benefits for public safety:
- It deploys resources quickly and efficiently and sets up video surveillance systems in high-importance areas so emergency headquarters knows how many responders to send and exactly where to send them.
- It provides real-time awareness by capturing real-time video through wireless cameras and feeding it directly to first responders. Distributed antenna systems alert police to the presence of weapons before they arrive on the scene and let medical personnel evaluate the need for treatment while they’re still on the way.
- It connects responders to more resources. When first responders have online access, they can look up hazardous materials and facility blueprints instead of waiting for outside information.
Each municipality has different regulations for public safety DAS. Most new building renovations of more than three stories tall or that have facilities underground are subject to communications tests.
Most large buildings must have communications devices with waterproof installation and NEMA 4X enclosures. Backup batteries must provide power for at least 24 hours.
Systems should integrate with your fire alarm and monitoring center, so your public DAS stays operational and available in an emergency. Coverage should extend to stairways and elevator shafts.
You’ll find that C Enterprises has all the cabling solutions you’ll need when you upgrade your building to include DAS for public safety. Contact us for the most reliable assemblies today.