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December 13

Public Safety Interoperability & What It Means For First Responders

When discussing the importance of public safety frequency coverage, it’s critical to note that more than just one frequency is involved. Police, fire, and EMS all communicate on different systems utilizing different frequencies which creates a number of challenges for first responders and building owners.

Building owners need to ensure all of the varying frequencies used by each public safety agency are supported, and that they are prepared to implement FirstNet, as well. A Zinwave Distributed Antenna System (DAS) supports all public safety frequencies from 150MHz to 800MHz, providing seamless interoperability for public safety communication. With a reliable DAS solution, interoperability between first responders is consistent, ensuring coordinated efforts across all agencies.

What does this mean for first responders?

When responding to an emergency, it is critical for first responders to coordinate with their own unit, as well as other emergency personnel. After all, police, fire, and EMS personnel must remain in constant communication with each other. If the police are the first to arrive on scene, they need to be able to communicate with emergency responders inside the building to coordinate efforts. Interoperability ensures that all first responders stay connected.

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  Public safety communication systems are not standardized.

Public safety communication systems are not standardized. Building codes fall under local jurisdictions, creating different requirements in different communities. Local jurisdictions are currently adopting amendments that will require reliable public safety coverage regardless of locale; FirstNet is in the beginning phases of implementation, but these standards will take time to realize.

The idea behind FirstNet is to deploy, operate and maintain the first high-speed broadband network dedicated to public safety on a national level. Ultimately, the adoption of FirstNet will allow public safety agencies to communicate across all systems and jurisdictions efficiently and with fewer complications, with a guaranteed level of service within the buildings they enter.

So, what does this mean for building owners?

Building owners must consider the connectivity demands of occupants, as well as provide first responders with reliable coverage to effectively communicate during emergency situations. Having a system that covers the typical Land Mobile Radio (LMR) 700MHz to 800MHz frequency band won’t be enough, as public safety agencies also utilize the lower-band VHF frequencies (150MHz) and other UHF frequencies (450MHz). And, although FirstNet is in the beginning phases of deployment, it is likely going to be mandated in the future. Having a wireless solution in place that covers all cellular and public safety frequencies provides the connectivity that building occupants demand, that first responders require today, and that will support the standards of tomorrow.

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