ERRCS Installation Is Mandated for Many CA Buildings
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1221 and California laws (i.e. California Fire Code § 510 and California Building Code § 918) mandate the installation of ERRCS for many buildings because of how integral they can be for emergency personnel. Specifically, the following buildings must comply and install ERRCS systems:
- All new buildings and structures, excluding single-family homes, townhouses, duplexes, open parking garages that do not have subterranean levels, and buildings or structures that do not have subterranean storage and parking and are made primarily of wood.
- Existing buildings, if your building has removed the previously mandated two-way wired fire department communication system.
DAS systems are required in a variety of buildings in California, including hospitals, schools, stadiums, office buildings, and more. Hospitals must have a DAS system installed to ensure that medical personnel can communicate effectively while providing care. Schools must also install DAS systems to ensure that students and faculty can stay connected during emergencies.
Stadiums require DAS systems to ensure that fans can stay connected during events. Office buildings need DAS systems to ensure that employees can stay connected while working.
In addition to these requirements, the Division of the State Architect has implemented a 7x7x7 Design Energy Water program which requires all new construction projects in California Community Colleges to include a DAS system as part of their design plans. This program is designed to reduce energy consumption and water usage in college campuses across the state.
This blog post will give an overview of the requirements and regulations that must be followed in order to install these system successfully within California. We will also discuss how a ERRCS and DAS differ from one another.
Is a DAS System the Same as ERRCS?
A Distributed Antenna System (DAS) refers to a system of antennas that can enhance and allow carrier services throughout a property; these systems are most often installed indoor by connected antennas to a fiber optic cable network. However, DAS systems can also be found in outdoor spaces (i.e. arenas, stadiums, etc.) that have limited or poor reception and/or coverage.
ERRCS stands for Emergency Responder Radio Communication Systems. This system is designed to ensure reliable and redundant two-way communication for first responders in order to provide better safety and response times during emergencies.
ERRCS systems transmit radio frequencies from outside a building (where signals are strong) into the building (where signals are weak). This allows first responders to communicate effectively even when normal radio signals fail. These systems provide a layer of protection that can help save lives in the event of an emergency, and they can also be used as an “amenity” in certain settings where improved communication is desired.
While different, ERRCS/DAS systems are essential tools for providing reliable communication between first responders and those they serve. By improving radio coverage within buildings, they help ensure that emergency personnel have the resources they need to respond quickly and efficiently in any situation.
Compliant ERRCS Installation Guidelines
If you plan on installing an ERRCS in your building, it is important to understand the requirements and regulations in San Diego County to ensure a compliant installation. Below, we discuss what you should know before installing an ERRCS system.
General Construction Guidelines
ERRCS installations must follow the guidelines set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 72, Chapter 24, which outlines the design, installation, and maintenance requirements for ERRCS. Additionally, the installation must follow the California Fire Code, which mandates that a qualified technician designs and installs the system. Installation personnel should have:
- Certification of in-building system training by a recognized organization or school or ERRCS certification by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET)
- Licensure from the FCC in general radio operation
Following installation and the completion of construction, ERRCS will be tested. The ERRCS must be designed to operate within the existing architecture and building materials of the facility while complying with the specific requirements of the building occupancy type, number of floors, and square footage. For an ERRCS to be considered acceptable, the system must also have signal strength measurements in 95% of all areas on each building floor concerning the minimum signal strength into and out the building as well as the system performance.
Permits and Licenses
Before installing an ERRCS system, it is important to obtain the necessary permits and licenses from the local authorities. In San Diego County, building permits are required for new installations or modifications to existing systems. In addition, a low-voltage electrical license is required for the installation and maintenance of ERRCS equipment.
Once the ERRCS is installed, it must be properly maintained to ensure proper operation in an emergency situation. The installation company should provide a maintenance agreement outlining routine inspections and system testing.
Additionally, the agreement should include provisions for monitoring and documenting system changes, repairs, and upgrades. Regular maintenance will ensure the system is always operating in compliance with current codes and regulations.
We Can Install Your ERRCS & DAS Systems
At Silverstrand Technologies, Inc., our contractors are licensed, bonded, and trusted professionals. We are not only certified but are also factory trained, which means we are well-equipped to handle the installation of an ERRCS or DAS system in your building or structure.
To schedule an appointment with our contractors, call (619) 732-0628 today.