Emergency Radio Communication Enhancement SystemDuring an emergency, reliable communication is critical. Staying informed with clear radio transmissions between first responders inside a building and emergency personnel outside the building is a necessity. The solution is Emergency Radio Communication Enhancement Systems (ERCES) Bi-Directional Amplifiers (BDA).
NFPA, IFC, IBC and your local AHJ govern the installation, testing and maintenance of in-building 2-way emergency responder radio enhancement systems. Fox Valley Fire & Safety has technicians that are FCC GROL Licensed and factory trained/certified to provide the code required In-building Emergency Responder Radio Coverage for new construction and existing buildings. From the site survey and radio strength study through installation, testing and ongoing maintenance, our technicians are qualified to keep you in compliance.
ERCES is a Code-Driven Requirement:
- IBC 2015 – Section 916, NFPA 1 Section 11-10: Refers to IFC section 510 or the state recognized fire code.
- IFC Section 510 Emergency Responder Radio Coverage: First appeared in the appendix of the 2009 IFC; the provision was moved to the body of the code in 2012. Section 1103.2 specifies the requirements for emergency responder radio coverage in existing buildings.
- NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code: 2010 / 2013 Edition, section 24.5.2. The 2016 edition of NFPA 72 relocated the requirements to NFPA 1221. 2016 & 2019 Editions of NFPA 1221, Emergency Service Communications Systems, 2016 & 2019 Editions of NFPA 1221, Emergency Service Communications Systems, Section 9.6.
ERCES and BDA FAQ’s:
Does the Building Code require BDAs for Police and Fire Departments?
The code requires coverage for Emergency Responders. The AHJ will determine which Emergency Responder agencies need to be included in the system. Generally, it includes Fire, Fire Mutual Aid, Police and EMS.
What skills, education, or experience must a technician have to install, commission, and service a BDA system?
This depends on the jurisdiction, but typically FCC GROL or approved equivalent and manufacturer certification.
How does one determine whether existing radio coverage is adequate, or justify whether an Enhancement System is warranted?
A RF Survey must be performed. Typically performed by specialized FCC GROL certified technician and some fire department radio personnel, a RF Survey is accomplished by measuring the Downlink/Uplink signal strengths in decibels-milliwatts (dBm) using special measuring devices.
The survey can be determined before the building construction starts with a signal survey on the building site followed by software-simulated radio propagation modeling. This results in heat maps that show predicted signal coverage levels.
Results are submitted to AHJ to determine if a BDA is required or if a waiver is appropriate.
What is the UL2524 Product Standard?
The UL2524 creates a product performance standard that allows manufacturers to design and list BDA systems to.
UL2524 assures AHJs, A&Es, Building Owners and Occupants that Notifier’s BDA systems perform the first time and every time – exactly as prescribed in IFC 510.5.3 and NFPA 1221.
What are NFPA’s requirements for annunciator at FACP or is FACP monitoring adequate?
A dedicated alarm panel must be located in the fire command center or other location designated by the AHJ. The BDA status must also be monitored by the building’s fire alarm system.
How does a system designer or system engineer determine what frequencies are to be supported?
The AHJ is required to maintain a document of technical information specific to these requirements.