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Safer Buildings Coalition hosts Baltimore Washington Summit

Panels of experts heightened the awareness and importance of in-building public safety radio systems as well as presenting up-to-date news and information to the National Capital Region’s Commercial Real Estate Community at a well-attended Public Safety and Connectivity Summit

Less than twenty years ago only the on-scene commander and his/her lieutenants used land mobile radios for voice communications during emergency events. Today, almost all firefighters, police and emergency medical first responders possess and frequently use portable radios. The use of those radios dramatically enhances their efficiency and effectiveness, and when things go wrong, they literally become a first responder’s life-line. By code, Commercial Real Estate developers and building owners have a responsibility to ensure reliable first responder communications in their properties.
SaferBuildingsLogoThe Safer Buildings Coalition is an independent, non-profit organization founded in 2102. Its mission is to advance policies, ideas and technologies that ensure comprehensive in-building public safety radio communications capabilities for first responders. Each year the SBC hosts monthly conferences and in person training sessions all over the country. On Wednesday, January 24, 2018 the Coalition hosted another very successful Public Safety and Connectivity Summit at the Capital Technology University in the Washington DC suburb of Laurel, Maryland.
Expert panelists engaged in interesting and informative discussions in front of an attentive audience composed of Commercial Real Estate professionals, FCC rule makers, Public Safety code enforcement officials, FirstNet administrators, RF equipment vendors, Public Safety Systems integrators, press and other interested parties.
The day long program was kicked off by a keynote address followed by expert panels addressing four germane topics.
The keynote was given by Seth Buechley the founder of Safer Buildings Coalition speaking about public safety mandates in the context of cost versus the opportunity to save lives and support better emergency event outcomes. It is through Mr. Buechley’s vision and consistent support that the Safer Buildings Coalition is such a vibrant, helpful and influential organization today.
The members of the four panels discussed, debated and took audience questions. The following are their topics and important take-a-ways.

  • In-Building Public Safety Code Requirements – Local Codes Mandated For Your Property Or Planned Development
    • In building public safety codes are critical to the safety and effectiveness of our first responder’s. The codes are important and should not be taken lightly. CRE professionals should be familiar with them, be completely cooperative with the local authority having jurisdiction and strive to hire experienced, competent installers. Pre and post RF site surveys are a must. It is very important to understand the RF signal strengthen outside where the donor antennas will be placed and then of course on the inside before and after the PS DAS installation. Another key message to the CRE professional was an encouragement to treat the code requirements as an ethical/moral imperative, and not as a matter of financial burden; e.g. how much it will add to the building costs.


  • Commercial Real Estate Public Safety Infrastructure – Key Considerations
    • These systems should always be considered base building components, and adequate provisions for such systems should be made by the architect in the initial design stage. Making appropriate accommodations in advance will go a long way to lowering over all costs of public safety in building systems. For example, properly sized and well placed core holes between floors, adequate MDF/IDF closet space with properly sized nearby power, conduit type, amount and fire rating requirement, and strategically placed roof penetration points for antenna cables are but a few infrastructure issues that need to be addressed before the construction phase begins on any new structure.


  • In-Building E911 Location Accuracy Requirements – A Smart Building Mandate And Opportunity
    • Locating people and things quickly, accurately, is critically important to the whole first responder rapid response process. But to fight the fire, or save someone, you must first find the fire, or find the ill stricken person. Most times that is easier said than done. The extremely accurate GPS services works very well outside when you have an unobstructed sky view.  Inside a building the GPS satellite to receiver signal is broken so exact location services are not possible in the same way. The panel informed the audience and sighted examples of research under way now that has created and will produce in the near term future, new and innovative ways to locate people and things in buildings.  Representatives from the FCC, Cisco, CTIA and others in the know forecasted that future in-building public safety and cellular systems will eventually overcome the inherent in-building challenges and locate people inside structures, in three dimensions, as accurately as they are located today outdoors.


  • FirstNet And Public Safety Implications For Commercial Real Estate
    • Many of the original FirstNet critics said it would never happen. Five years later the initiative is moving along methodically, but it is moving forward for sure. All the states are now opt-in and ATT&T has been selected as the prime mover. Various system tests and trails are starting and the other critical components of the overall system are being putting in place. However, the exact implications for the CRE community is still not known especially is it relates to actually receiving the FirstNet signal inside the structure and what provisions are going to be required to make that happen. Many hurdles have been overcome so far and there continues to be a high level of purposeful activity. So on the whole FirstNet is definitely taking shape.

Finally, it is Fifth Gen Media’s opinion that SBC as a non-profit public safety oriented organization is doing a great job of advancing the policies, ideas and technologies that ensure comprehensive in-building public safety radio communications capabilities for first responders. Bravo, keep up the good work.
You might consider reading How does one choose the Right Installer for an In-Building Public Safety Radio Project?

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