Emergency Responder Radio Coverage Systems

Emergency Responder Radio Coverage (ERRC), also commonly referred to as a Bi-Directional Amplifier (BDA),  is required by the 9th edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR) Section 916 in certain new buildings.  NFPA 72 Chapter 24 provisions of the two-way radio communications enhancement system are applicable to these systems. NFPA 72 Chapter 24 requires that the riser and feeder coaxial cables and their connections shall be protected within a 2-hour rated enclosure. Since the riser and feeder coaxial cables terminate on the radio amplifiers, the amplifier(s) must also be located within a 2-hour rated enclosure. The coaxial cable terminations to the Distributed Antenna System, Donor Antenna, Fire Alarm System interface, and the Annunciator are not included in the 2-hour rated enclosure requirements.

It is anticipated that the 10th edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code could be adopted as soon as 2024.  The 10th edition of 780 CMR will reference the 2019 edition of NFPA 72 and 2019 NFPA 1221, Standard for the Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Emergency Services Communications Systems. A new term is introduced through the standard, “backbone”, which is defined as “the communications cable in an in-building radio enhancement system that carries wideband signals important to the entire building, from the donor antenna, through the amplifiers, and to the distribution antenna lines” [2019 NFPA 1221: 3.3.10].  NFPA 1221 Chapter 9 requires that the backbone cables and the connections between the cable backbone and antenna cables shall be made within an enclosure that matches the building’s fire rating. For example, in a building that includes fire-resistive ratings up to 1 hour, the backbone and connections are required to be within a 1-hour rated enclosure.

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