MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Graybar Hosts In-Building Public Safety Seminar

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Graybar – In-Building Public Safety Communications Seminar

Safer Buildings Coalition and our Executive Director Alan Perdue, CFO, FM, MIFireE are proud to support Graybar in next week’s seminar in Naperville: DAS/Public Safety Seminar on Friday, April 28. This seminar will be of interest to Public Safety Agencies (Fire, Police, EMT), Building Officials, Architects, Engineers, and Design Professionals. The meeting will be held at Top Golf located at 3211 Odyssey Ct., Naperville. The program will begin at 8:30 am.

The program is on In-Building Public Safety Communications, and will be Chief Alan Perdue, Executive Director-Safer Buildings Coalition. This seminar will be of interest to anyone who is concerned about radios and phones getting out of larger buildings in an emergency, so invite your police agencies.

GOLFThe agenda for this morning class will consist of Code Requirements for Public Safety Radio Communications; General Public Communication vs. Public Safety Communication Systems; Prescriptive Code vs. Performance Based Code; New Code Changes; Basic System Topology/Design; Developing Specifications and System Layout; System Commissioning and Testing Best Practices

This seminar will be of interest to Public Safety Agencies (Fire, Police, EMT), Building Officials, Architects, Engineers, and Design Professionals

Our instructor, Chief Alan Perdue, began his public safety journey as a volunteer firefighter in 1977 and retired in February 2013. Chief Perdue is credentialed as a Chief Fire Officer and Fire Marshal through the Center for Public Safety Excellence Commission for Professional Credentialing.

Chief Perdue currently serves as the Executive Director of the Safer Buildings Coalition, a Commissioner on the Center for Public Safety Excellence’s Commission for Professional Credentialing, a member of the International Accreditation Services Technical Advisory Committee for Fire & Life Safety Departments, a member of the International Code Councils Codes & Standards Council and as an Elected Guilford County, NC Commissioner.

Among many other positions held by Chief Perdue, he served eight years as the International Director representing Fire & Life Safety on the International Association of Fire Chiefs Board of Directors and twelve years as the Governor’s fire service appointee to the North Carolina State Building Code Council.

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John Foley Selected as VP for Safer Buildings Coalition

Advancing Safer Buildings Coalition’s Mission

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John Foley – VP Operations

The Safer Buildings Coalition announced today the selection of John Foley as Vice President, Operations. The VP of Operations is the key operations leader of the Safer Buildings Coalition, reporting to the Board of Directors.

John brings over forty years of telecommunications industry experience to the Safer Buildings Coalition, including key roles at Henkels and McCoy (major DAS Integrator), Level 3 Communications, MFS Telecom, MCI. John was a founding employee of XO Communications.

“We are delighted to have John serve as Vice President, Operations of the Safer Buildings Coalition,” said Board President Jeff Hipchen. “John brings a strong combination of sales, marketing, technical knowledge, and business planning experience to the Safer Buildings team,” said Hipchen. “He will lead our efforts to serve the evolving needs of our members and the public, and to advance Safer Building’s mission.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this organization and to work with the Safer Buildings Coalition Board as we set out to advance policies, best practices, and industry collaboration to ensure that our nation’s first responders have access to in-building communications platforms that enhance their ability to protect and serve the public,” said Foley. “I very much look forward to connecting with Safer Buildings Coalitions’ current and prospective membership and stakeholders to step up our efforts together in this important mission.”

Connect with John on LinkedIn

About the Safer Buildings Coalition The primary mission of the Safer Buildings Coalition is to ensure that First Responders (Fire, Law Enforcement and EMS) can use state-of-the-art voice and data communications to communicate with one another inside buildings as well as to and from their Command Centers outside buildings during an event. From their inception before the FCC in February 2012, the Safer Buildings Coalition has been at the forefront of advancing policies and ideas that lead to more buildings being served with commercial and public safety wireless coverage.


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Member Feature | RF Connect Delivers Major Dallas Highway Wireless Radio System Coverage for First Responders

 rfconnectlogoThis week’s member feature highlights Safer Buildings Coalition Member, RF Connect. As a recognized leader in the design, deployment, and support of high performance wireless and mobile solutions at high-capacity public and private venues around the nation, RF Connect is a significant contributor to the mission and goals of the SBC.

The Challenge:

RF Connect’s latest project includes over 7 miles of highway in Dallas County, Texas. This piece of highway is included in the LBJ Express project were it has been identified as below grade in a cantilevered tunnel effect, making public safety radio transmissions impossible. Because of the lack of radio signal in those areas, first responders were hindered from making or receiving calls. Law enforcement, fire, ambulance and other public safety radios for first responders were silenced, endangering the lives and safety of the public and the first responders.

The Solution:

RF Connect constructed a first responder public safety wireless radio coverage system for the 7 miles of cantilevered below grade roadway. RF Connect designed the system on the VHF, UHF, 700, and 800 MHz public safety radio spectrum bands, giving first responders open communication channels.  Due to the complete lack of public safety signals below grade, and the critical nature of those communications for the public and first responders, RF Connect designed the system with full redundancy so no single failure would cause an outage. A full 24 hours of battery back-up was included with the capability to add mobile generators for power outages beyond 24 hours. RF Connect integrated the system with multiple vendors’ equipment and provided a comprehensive alarm monitoring and maintenance program to guarantee the highest quality communications for public safety on all bands.

Despite the delays in construction from Dallas’ record rainfall in the Spring of 2015, the project met its opening date goal and was, in fact, completed ahead of schedule, thanks to the overall collaboration of all parties involved. “Our number one concern is the safety of the public on the roadway and the reliability of the highway system. Due to the lack of signal for first responder radios on the below grade sections of the roadway, we partnered with RF Connect to design, deliver and test a solution for all of the public safety entities that keep the traveling public safe,” explained LBJ Express COO, Jason Sipes.

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About the LBJ Express Project:

When the LBJ Freeway opened in 1969, it was designed to hold about 180,000 vehicles per day. In 2008, the Freeway was counting 270,000 vehicles per day with demand expected to exceed 500,000 vehicles per day by 2020.

To accommodate the increased traffic, the 13-mile LBJ Express project called for improvements along Interstate 635 and Interstate 35E, including rebuilt main highway lanes, a continuous frontage road system and 13 miles of new express managed toll lanes. Crucial to the highway improvement project is RF Connect’s construction of the public safety wireless radio coverage system for first responders in below grade areas. Please visit www.lbjtexpress.com for more information.

About RF Connect:

RF Connect is a recognized leader in the design, deployment, and support of high performance wireless and mobile solutions at high-capacity public and private venues around the nation. As a National Carrier Approved Turnkey Service Provider, the RF Connect technical team serves clients with industry-proven processes, tools, training, and technology that ensure reliable and robust connectivity for voice, data and multimedia needs. The nation’s largest hospitals, entertainment complexes, retail facilities, commercial real estate and high-rise facilities, municipal/educational institutions and other facilities team with RF Connect to optimize their mobile applications on a solid and well-planned wireless utility network (WUNSM) that is secure, robust, reliable, and ready to meet today’s demands. With more than a decade of specific experience in state-of-the-art connectivity in high-capacity settings, RF Connect provides its clients reliable, cost-effective systems and applications that provide un-tethered access to mission-critical information anytime and anywhere.

Source: RFConnect.com


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Member Feature | SOLiD Ensures In-Building Wireless Communications Coverage at Republican & Democratic National Conventions

 

As an organization that advocates for in-building wireless  communications coverage – especially coverage for public safety – it is important that our members align with that mission. With that being said, we are proud to feature one of our member companies, SOLiD – a leader in wireless infrastructure – and the work they did in efforts to keep attendees connected and covered during both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions this past month.

in-building wireless communications

Quicken Loans Arena

By updating the wireless networks at both Cleveland’s Quicken Loan Arena and the Pennsylvania Convention Center with SOLiD’s state-of-the-art distributed antenna systems (DAS), thousands of convention delegates, reporters, and attendees were able to seamlessly text, call, upload photos and video, check social media, and react to news in real time. The ability to communicate during these types of events is not only important from a media coverage standpoint, but also from a public safety standpoint as well. In an in-building emergency situation, it is imperative that first responders are able to communicate with those inside. The use of SOLiD’s DAS during these events ensures that those in-building wireless communications are possible.

As numbers for both conventions were expected to reach over 80,000 in attendance, the in-building wireless communications networks at both venues were able to ensure that critical phone calls, text messages, and media files were delivered – even during the height of convention activity. In the words of SOLiD Americas president Ken Sandfeld, “This year’s political conventions are the most connected and reliable in history. Unprecedented volumes of wireless data will be transmitted at both the Republican and Democratic National Convention venues, and the wireless network is ready, thanks to SOLiD’s ALLIANCE product line, which provides robust edge densification to the carrier networks.”

in-building wireless communications

Pennsylvania Convention Center

Distributed antenna systems (DAS) extend in-building wireless communications coverage so that people can stay connected everywhere – on the subway, in a stadium, at the mall, in their office, etc. SOLiD’s DAS solutions have been engineered to support multiple carriers and public safety bands, ensuring that people can stay safe and connected. Installation of a SOLiD DAS includes placing dozens of remote radio units throughout the venue. Each of these units acts like a mini cell tower to broadcast a carrier’s signal  into the building. This eliminates the dead zones that may result from building materials, and enables the capacity to communicate through congested areas.

From a public safety standpoint, it is critical that large venues possess the ability to provide coverage to those inside – especially during an emergency situation. Without it, lives may be lost. As a coalition, we are proud to have SOLiD on board as a member and fellow advocate for in-building public safety communications.


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Quicken Loans Arena photo: Erik Drost, Wiki Commons; PACC photo: BMK, Wiki Commons

 

 

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Code Update | Florida In-Building Fire Code

With threats to public safety amplified by recent events locally and abroad, the importance of staying focused on moving the needle forward for instituting in-building communication platforms cannot be overstated.  However, as with any public safety movement involving multiple stakeholders with different concerns and priorities, advocating for a technologically sound, well regulated, affordable, interoperable and widespread system of wireless, in-building communication systems is very complicated, to say the least.  That brings us to the recent developments regarding the Florida in-building fire code. 

It’s All In The Code 

In the U.S. today, state and local fire codes represent one of the main enforceable methodologies through which extensive systems for wireless communication can be introduced into building regulations and regularly enforced.

For example, the local jurisdiction for the state of Florida’s in-building fire code safety regulations are dictated by the latest edition of the Florida Fire Prevention Code (FFPC), derived from the model codes and standards provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 1: Fire Code) and the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101).  Adopted codes are enforced through the permitting of new building construction and maintenance inspections for existing buildings, and are generally updated every three years  

New codes regarding the future of in-building wireless communications for public safety are constantly being introduced, debated and modified, involving everything from permits, signal strength and amplification, data network performance, testing and proof of compliance, as well as technical criteria, standby power for system design and many more implementation and management concerns3.  State-specific amendments to the 6th edition of the NFPA are currently being evaluated in Florida for adoption and implementation at the end of 2017.  A relatively recent addition to the language surrounding in-building public safety communications involves FFPC code 1:11.10, which requires a minimum radio signal strength for both new and existing buildings, and requires that these systems comply with the requirements of NFPA 72, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.  

While some Florida jurisdictions had already adopted this code, “it’s now statewide code,” said Karl Thompson, Chief Engineer of the Florida Division of the State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire Prevention, and member of the Safer Buildings Coalition.  He noted that a few jurisdictions in south Florida were implementing this before the FFPC started implementing it statewide, and that both Florida and other states like California are relatively progressive in code adoption.  “We’re disaster prone-states,” he said, “and recognize the importance of code language.”

florida in-building fire code

The Importance of the Florida In-Building Fire Code

When mandates regarding building requirements change, some stakeholders may initially feel unduly burdened by the new codes.  The mandate for the new Florida in-building fire code is not different. In regards to requiring a minimum wireless signal strength, “The language says ‘for new and existing buildings’,” said Thompson, “which has caused some concern among some of the building owners that they’re going to have to pay for these systems.”

“First and foremost of concern to building owners and real estate investment groups is cost,” said Chief Alan Perdue, retired director of Emergency Services in Guilford County, N.C. and executive director of the Safer Buildings Coalition.  “But to offset that concern is the liability for taking care of the public that occupies them.  And to take care of the public, it is imperative for public safety personnel to be able to communicate in the event of an emergency in that building.  Oftentimes people think that it has to be a large incident, or a large building, to be a problem.  But if you think about a mid-size residential building, EMS may be coming there on a frequent basis for medical emergencies; law enforcement for various types of events and the fire dept as well…the critical nature of being able to communicate is vital.”

The new Florida in-building fire code language brings existing buildings across Florida into the public safety wireless communication system conversation.  While it is an encouraging step forward, nothing is not set in stone. “It’s important that this legislation doesn’t change,” Perdue said.  To provide some relief for building owners, the Florida legislature has allowed for impact and effort of code compliance to be taken into consideration by the local fire official (Florida Statute 633.202).  In addition, a delay of several years in the implementation requirement was approved in light of the need by building owners to plan and budget (Florida Statute 633.208).

Continuing to advocate for and educate on the importance of in-building wireless communication systems is still paramount to the success of modern public safety operations.  “Communications between public safety members inside the building, and outside to command is critical to a successful operation,” said Perdue.  “The lack thereof can put members at risk from injury or possibly death.  The issue of people going to the wrong location creates a time lag for the people who we are there to serve.  The communications piece is vital to a successful outcome.”

For more information on the Florida in-building fire code, the FFPC is viewable online at the Division of State Fire Marshal website at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/SFM/ under the “Fire Prevention” tab.

By Vania Cao – Safer Buildings Coalition Contributor

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