Interview with Chief McCarraher | In-Building Communications – Improvements For Public Safety

Our in-building communications have greatly improved over the years, but the industry still faces some significant challenges.  Although organizations such as the Safer Building Coalition have increased the awareness of these issues, the need for improved technologies and policies still remains.

Simplifying Code

In order to improve communication between emergency responders and in-building personnel, it’s important for building owners to have an affordable, interoperable in-building wireless communication system.  However, knowing which jurisdiction adopts certain codes can be fairly complicated and is the source of a lot of confusion for building owners.

While new code changes may seem like a burden, they are critical in the efforts to improve upon public safety.  Advocating for a streamlined code and bringing standards as close together as possible may help reduce much of the confusion.

Rollout of FirstNet

Another exciting development underway is the rollout of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), the nation’s first broadband public safety network.  The benefits of FirstNet are widespread, but many building owners are still wondering what impact it may have on in-building solutions.

SBC Executive Director Chief Alan Perdue (Ret.) recently discussed the topic with International Association of Fire Chiefs Communication Committee Chair Gary McCarraher in the Safer Buildings Coalition Podcast.  In the podcast, McCarraher stated that FirstNet would not have a huge impact on in-building solutions initially because of the need for technological improvements.

“I’m guessing that [land mobile radio] is going to be around for at least another generation,” McCarraher said.  “The VBA system will be a critical component of critical mission voice for public safety.”

To hear the entire conversation between Chief Perdue (Ret.) and Chief McCarraher, check out the video below:

Hope For Future Improvement

The good news is that the future looks bright for improving upon in-building public safety communications.  Stakeholders in the industry are getting together to find unique solutions to the most pressing challenges that we face today.  By working side-by-side to develop better technologies and comprehensive code, we can dramatically improve in-building communications for the future.


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