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April 19

The Impact of Unreliable Connectivity for First Responders

It’s inevitable – first responders need reliable technology to effectively do their jobs, especially when it comes to in-building wireless connectivity. Picture this: you’re a fire chief who just received a call from dispatch about the 78th floor of a skyscraper – you’re aware that something has caught fire, but you don’t know specifics. On the scene, your team has set up a command center on the first floor to communicate next steps, but you’re having trouble connecting to them. You need to communicate with people outside of the building to pull up floor plans and coordinate additional support. Now what? You’re in bind. You don’t know the conditions you will be walking into, you don’t know if anyone is hurt and you’re not even sure how intense the situation is.

In a recent survey of first-responders’ in-building connectivity experience, more than 65 percent of respondents said they had experienced some sort of communication failure within the past 24 months while inside a building or some other kind of structure when responding to an emergency. In the same survey, 99 percent of respondents revealed that reliable in-building communication coverage is important to them when performing their jobs during emergencies.

While the above is a hypothetical story, it’s also a reality for first responders on the job. Instead of being in a “now what?” situation, the right wireless technology would enable first responders to communicate with dispatch or other first responders on site, and help occupants exit the premises. The alternative is interrupted communications due to the lack of in-building wireless connectivity. 

First responders, police officers and EMS continually rely on mobile devices during mission-critical operations. Without the right in-building connectivity solution, it could even be a life-or-death situation. The best way to ensure connectivity for first responders is with a Distributed Antenna System (DAS). A DAS solution enables in-building wireless connectivity by bringing outdoor signals into the building by way of a base station, then routing those signals through a hub to various access points throughout the building.

Taking into consideration that FirstNet has been adopted by all 50 states, installing a DAS system to benefit occupants during normal operations also helps building operators and owners to get ahead of safety communication regulations. Municipalities are adopting local amendments and International Fire Codes (IFC) that require the owners of new buildings to prove they have reliable public safety coverage. Solving for connectivity with a DAS enables cellular coverage and public safety compliance in a single, efficient platform.

Much is changing in the in-building wireless industry, and to meet the needs of those who are saving our lives and to lower the risk of a “what now?” situation, building owners and developers must consider a flexible, cost-effective and future proof solution. A Zinwave DAS is the only solution that can support all cellular and public safety frequencies on a single hardware layer.

Now, picture this: you’ve arrived at the skyscraper enabled with a solution that will improve first responders’ ability to save lives. Your team has already set up a command center, and you’re able to identify that the fire on the 78th floor is contained to the East side of the building. You’re able to stay in constant contact with your team on the 78th floor, coordinating the rescue of the occupants trapped inside. Zinwave’s patented DAS system has ensured the seamless cellular and public safety connectivity first responders needed to more effectively perform their duties in this type of emergency situation.

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