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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 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, 2013 Edition (NFPA72-2013) as its Fire Alarm Code and the International Building Code, 2015 Version (IBC 2015) as its Building Code. NFPA72-2013 Chapter 24 includes requirements for “Two-Way Radio Communications Enhancement Systems” and the IBC 2015 section 915 provides Emergency Responder Radio Coverage requirements.

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 County’s 800 MHz public safety communications system 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 NFPA72-2013 and do not cause unintended harmful interference to the County’s radio system 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 IBC2015 and NFPA72-2013. For more information, click the link below to download the documentation and application package. Questions can be emailed to 800MHz@aacounty.org

 

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