If you are a general contractor involved with a new construction project in America you will need to know the newest industry buzzword: ERRC, or emergency responder radio coverage.
ERRC has been known by several names, including:
Legislation was added to the national fire codes years ago. However, only recently have we begun to see enforcement in certain areas in the United States. As fire departments upgrade aging radio systems, more municipalities are adopting and enforcing the code.
Builders and contractors should familiarize themselves with ERRC now, or risk being denied a certificate of occupancy. Additionally, legacy construction will need to be retrofitted to ensure compliance.
TTS has been supporting Federal, Commercial and Private sector customers for years by improving signal throughout their facilities. We have the experience to ensure compliance in every jurisdiction nationwide.
An ERRC system is a repeater or enhancement system that takes radio signal present outside of a building and produces it inside. In life-threatening emergencies, firefighters and first responders need a radio link back to other personnel or their center office to communicate in real time. ERRC ensures emergency responders can communicate from inside of a building during a crisis.
After the events of 9/11, the International Fire Code updated their requirements to include ERRC when inadequate radio communication was determined to be a contributing factor in the death of 500 firefighters.
According to code, every building is required to comply with ERRC. If your local AHJ (typically, the fire marshal) enforces ERRC, you will need to pass an RSSI reading which measures the raw level of signal in your building. Typically, the inspection divides the building into grids. Each grid will be tested for signal, plus any area where a firefighter would likely be in the event of an emergency known as “critical areas.”
Critical areas cannot fail the test, such as stairwells, elevator lobbies, electrical rooms, and the room where your fire control panel lives. These areas can be challenging when trying to pass an RSSI reading, as they tend to be buried down in the basement or located in a stairwell in the middle of the building, surrounded by concrete.
If you are involved in a new construction project in one of the areas enforcing ERRC, here is what you need to know:
- Whoever installs your ERRC must be experienced, TTS has over 10 years of experience deploying cellular, repeater and Public Safety networks.
- TTS will complete the job right the first time.
- If installed improperly, ERRC systems can be more expensive to take down than the cost of the original installation.
Signal Strength testing can provide validation of signal throughout a facility whether passing or failing: