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In-Building Public Safety Radio Coverage Requirements in Anne Arundel County

In all new and existing buildings, minimum radio signal strength for emergency responder communications shall be provided and maintained.  Where needed, two-way radio communication enhancement systems shall be installed.

Anne Arundel County, Maryland has adopted NFPA 1, Fire Code, 2018 Edition (NFPA1-2018) as its Fire Code, NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, 2018 Edition (NFPA101-2018) as its Life Safety Code, and NFPA 1221, Standard for the Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Emergency Services Communications Systems, 2016 Edition (NFPA1221-2016) as its standard for Communications Enhancement Systems. NFPA1-2018 and NFPA101-2018 provide requirements for reliable public safety radio system coverage in occupancies, and NFPA1221-2016 provides requirements for the design, installation and maintenance of communications enhancements systems.

Modern building design and construction techniques, especially those required to satisfy requirements for LEED-certified building designs, make it difficult or impossible for the County to provide reliable two-way radio coverage for first responders operating inside of many buildings. Two-way radio communications enhancement systems help ensure the safety of building occupants and first responders by extending the coverage of the 700 and 800 MHz public safety communications systems to the interior areas of the building through the use of special bi-directional amplifiers (BDAs) and a network of indoor antennas strategically located to provide reliable public safety radio system coverage throughout the interior of a building. The BDA and network of antennas is known collectively as a Distributed Antenna System (DAS).

DAS systems must be designed, installed, maintained and repaired by qualified personnel to ensure that they meet the coverage reliability requirements of NFPA1221-2016 and do not cause unintended harmful interference to 700 and 800 MHz radio systems or other users of the RF spectrum licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Anne Arundel County has developed a framework and policy for building owners and developers who must comply with the in-building public safety radio coverage requirements of NFPA1221-2016. For more information, click the links below to download the documentation and application package. Questions can be emailed to [email protected].

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