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The Emergency Responder Radio Coverage Solution

If you are a Property Owner or Manager for an older building or a General Contractor for a new commercial construction project, to .  And in those conversations, you will likely hear acronyms such as DAS and BDA’s.

If this sort of talk makes your eyes roll back in your head, not to worry – Advanced Alarm and Fire, Inc. is here to help.

The Short & Sweet:

BDA and DAS are acronyms used when referring to In-Building solutions to meet building and fire code requirements for Emergency Responder Radio Coverage (ERRC).  These system solutions are enhancements to standard fire alarm systems that strengthen radio signals throughout larger buildings and projects.


Why are ERCES’ such as DAS and BDA’s important?

Weak or dead communication spots inside a building can have devastating consequences

First Responders’ rely on clear and dependable communication systems to relay important information between personnel inside and out of a building.  In large buildings or complexes, various obstructions such as concrete, metal, low-E glass and other building materials can weaken the communication signals used by those emergency personnel.

DAS & BDA systems are designed to eliminate weak or dead signals in a building so that public safety personnel are ensured good signal coverage regardless of what area they find themselves in the building.

So what is a DAS and a BDA?

A Distributed Antenna System (DAS) is the interior passive antenna system that’s attached to the Bi-Directional Amplifier known as an Emergency Response Communication Enhancement System.  Simply put, it is a radio signal amplifying system that uses a series of antennas specifically designed to extend Public Safety Radio Frequency (RF) signals throughout all parts of a building, eliminating any weak or dead spots due to building obstructions.

A DAS is typically Passive while the BDA is Active.  Active being a solution for large commercial buildings and complexes over 500,000 sqft, whereas a Passive solution is recommended for buildings up to 100,000sqft with the capacity to expand the system up to 500,000sqft.  

A Bi-Directional Amplifier (BDA) is a device used in a Passive DAS system and is often referred to as a signal booster. Its sole purpose is to amplify cellular signals from the signal source through the to provide radio signals to weak or dead areas within a building.






When do you need a DAS?  

The need for a DAS is driven by Building and Fire Codes.  The Emergency Responder Radio Coverage sections in the IFC (1) and NFPA(2) require that all new building construction meet minimum inbound and outbound radio signal strength for fire department communications throughout the building site. 

With very few exceptions, larger buildings (more than 50,000sqft on a single story, three-stories or more, or has subterranean storage or parking) such as medical facilities, hotels, office buildings, shopping centers, schools, conference centers and stadiums will likely need to utilize an In-Building Emergency Response Communication Enhancement System to meet the ERRC code requirements.

If you have an existing building undergoing extensive remodel and/or expansion in the Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino or Ventura County areas you may be required to meet new Radio Coverage requirements.

(1) IFC 2018 Section 510.1

(2) NFPA1 Section 11.10


Not sure if your Fire Alarm system needs a DAS?

Request a Site Survey

A Radio Frequency (RF) Site Surveys can help determine if existing radio coverage is adequate or justify the need for a Distributed Antenna System.

An RF survey is typically performed by a specialized FCC GROL certified technician and some fire department radio personnel. The survey measures the Downlink/Uplink signal strengths in decibels-milliwatts (dBm) using special measuring devices.

Often times Site Surveys are done in the pre-construction phase.  A technician will conduct the RF survey on site then integrate the readings with a software-simulated radio propagation modeling. The outcome of this process results in heat maps that will show predicted signal coverage levels throughout the planned structure.  Results are then submitted to the AHJ to determine if a BDA is required or if a waiver is appropriate.(1)  

Need a Site Survey?   Advanced Alarm & Fire is certified to conduct RF tests as well as design and submit required documents and plans as well as Install your DAS system.

(1) HWGW_BR_BDA_2018_12_18 Rev 03

Not All Systems Are Created Equally

As a Honeywell Gamewell-FCI and Farenyht distributor Advanced Alarm and Fire, Inc, is your key to testing, designing, obtaining and installing the best Emergency Response Communication Enhancement System solution.

There are specific codes and standards that govern the need for BDA systems and not every system being sold in the marketplace is compliant with UL 2524. In fact, only seven manufacturers sell UL 2524-Listed systems: Honeywell Gamewell FCI and Farenhyt being two of the seven.  UL compliancy assures building owners, occupants and first responders that the system installed in their facility meets the highest performance standards, and that it will comply the first time, and every time an emergency event unfolds.

Gamewell BDA Cabinets

Request an RF Survey or Quote for a BDA

Advanced Alarm & Fire, Inc.

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