Cellular and Public-Safety Radio “Dead Zones” in Buildings Undermine the Safety of the Public and First Responders

  • Post on August 17th, 2015

As originally written and published on PRWeb

SOLiD and Hutton Communications publish e-book that details regulatory and technical challenges, recent advances

Fourteen years after 9-11, building occupants and first responders still face unsolved communication challenges. The general public relies upon cellular connectivity and coverage for 911 access; and first responders depend upon two-way LMR radios to communicate during emergencies. However, once in a building, both technologies are impacted by limited RF signal performance that ultimately leads to miscommunications and potential casualties during critical responses.

“Today’s imperative is simple” says Chief Alan Perdue (Ret.), Executive Director of the Safer Building Coalition “At the height of any emergency, it is paramount that first responders can communicate with one another, with command and with building occupants. Yet the harsh reality is that many stakeholders have failed to take the necessary actions to improve communications, thereby limiting where we could or should be compared to over a decade ago.”

Said Mike Collado, Vice President of Marketing from SOLiD, ”The FirstNet initiative is moving towards the RFP stage, which will guide fire and life safety codes and standards across the country. At the same time, robust in-building wireless solutions have evolved that address significant obstacles to communications. But due to the safety code development cycles, many of the new standards don’t include state-of-the-art technology, and for building managers, regulators and vendors, it’s a complex picture with a lot of moving parts.”

Insights from The Imperative include the following:

  • The designs and materials that make buildings stronger and more energy efficient are significantly more resistant to the penetration of radio and cellular signals. Outside towers alone cannot consistently penetrate inside a building to provide the necessary coverage.
  • Nearly 80 percent of all wireless calls originate or terminate inside buildings. Most 911 calls are made inside buildings using mobile phones.
  • The typical teenager with a smartphone possesses wireless communication abilities that are superior to today’s first responders.
  • New in-building wireless networks based on DAS technology can be integrated with legacy public-safety networks and address the latter’s shortcomings.
  • Because model codes from the International Code Council (ICC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are adopted at the state or local level, often with modifications, the opportunity for repeatable nationwide processes is problematic for indoor public safety solutions.
  • Indoor public-safety communications is an “unfunded mandate” whose financial burden is typically absorbed by the venue owner.

Said Lori Blair, Vice President of DAS Solutions at Hutton Communications, Inc., “With ‘The Imperative’, our goal is to spark a discussion among all the parties involved: the public-safety community, building owners, the wireless industry and regulators.”

To read the entire post, please go to the PRWeb website here.