FDNY In-Building Communications
The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) struggled with serious radio communications problems during and after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Some of the problems were caused by limited in-building coverage, damage, or by the equipment being used.
“The impact of two planes crashing into the towers compromised some of the communications infrastructure within the towers, with the complexity and size of the incident making point-to-point communications difficult,” said FDNY Press Secretary Steve Ritea. “The destruction caused by the planes and the associated fires contributed to our inability to communicate reliably.”
Since 9/11, the FDNY has taken substantial steps to improve its radio communications systems.
As of December 31, 2014, the New York City Building Code requires, in Sections 403.4.4 and 907.2.13.2, that an in-building auxiliary radio communication (ARC) system has to be installed and maintained in all newly constructed high-rise buildings. An ARC system is a wireless two-way building communication system for fire department use that only receives and transmits fire department portable radio frequencies within the building. An ARC system typically consists of a transceiver (base station) connected to a building-wide antenna system, with a radio console in the building lobby. Section 917.1.2 of the New York City Building Code and Section FC 511 of the New York City Fire Code requires that ARC systems be installed, acceptance tested, operated and maintained in accordance with the Fire Code and the rules of the Fire Department.
The ARC system must be compatible with Fire Channel 11 and recovers coverage of 95% throughout a building.
Codan worked with a local system integrator to meet full specifications with low-power operation. The UHF repeater operates at 0.5W per channel, which is compatible with a low-power RF splitter into the Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS). The Codan MT-4E can fit any series of DAS and transmits voice to an intercom system. With low-power requirements, the system is simple to install and maintain.
The T-Band DAS repeater system is a compact and space-efficient solution specifically designed for use inside DAS capable buildings. The dual RF channel T-Band analog 25 KHz repeater and intercom fits in 7U rack space and includes a 4 wire/VOX intercom pane,l connected over 600W balanced audio lines.
The installed site is located in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in New York City. The building passed inspection and is currently leased at 100% capacity.