Emergency Radio Communication Enhancement Systems (ERCES)/Bi-Directional Amplifier (BDA)

An Emergency Radio Communications Enhancement System (ERCES) or commonly referred to as a Bi-Directional Amplifier (BDA) system is a Life Safety System similar to a fire alarm system. Emergency Responders - Firefighters, Police and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) rely on two-way radios operating on public safety frequencies for communications in every day operations. When radio signals going into and out of buildings are weakened by structures such as concrete, Low-E glass windows, metal, underground, and additional materials impacting radio propagation, emergency radio communications can become unreliable with lack of in-building public safety radio coverage.

Codes require an approved level of radio coverage which can be achieved by enhancing the in-building radio frequency signal coverage with an ERCES which comprises of a BDA / Signal Booster and Distributed Antenna System (DAS). For the benefit of those considering an ERCES / BDA, this article explains origins and requirements of applicable codes and standards, the importance of the emerging product performance listings & standards (UL 2524), and the current certified offerings that are available.

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