Modern building design and construction techniques, especially those required to satisfy requirements for LEED-certified building designs, make it difficult for the City to provide reliable two-way radio coverage for first responders operating inside of buildings.
Effective January 2015, the District of Columbia has adopted a legislation mandating radio coverage for newly constructed buildings as recommended by the International Fire Code (see DC Regs). This legislation therefore results into the deployment of numerous in-building radio systems repeating signals from the District public safety radio network (host network) into the depth of the city’s buildings. While the Bi-Directional Amplifiers (BDA) and Distributed Antennas Systems (DAS) that make up in-building radio systems do effectively enhance coverage, they also have the potential to negatively affect both in-building and overall radio network coverage if not properly designed, installed, and maintained. Furthermore, without proper BDA/DAS records management, locating in-building systems that interfere with the network can be very challenging.
The code specifies that “emergency responder radio coverage systems and related equipment shall comply with all additional requirements, specifications and criteria established by the District of Columbia Office of Unified Communications to satisfy the operational needs of emergency responders and to prevent adverse impact on the District of Columbia’s public safety communications”. The set of documents that constitutes the additional requirements, specifications and criteria established by the District of Columbia Office of Unified Communications is the following:
- Implementation and Operations Process v0
- Technical Requirements v5.3
- Acceptance Test Procedure v1.1
- Annual Testing v1.0
You can access those documents below: