Please note that the following is a summary of information regarding these systems and does not include a comprehensive overview of the subject matter. Please refer to applicable codes for complete information.
What is DAS? DAS stands for Distributed Antenna System, it is a system of strategically placed antennas throughout a building that amplify the signal for public safety radios (mainly the Fire & Police Departments). DAS can go by many names in specifications – BDA (Bi-Directional Amplifier), ERRCS (Emergency Responder Radio Communication System), Radio Enhancement System, Two-Way Radio Communication Enhancement System, and more.
How does it work? There are two types of systems, either passive or active. A passive system takes an outside signal through a donor antenna, sends it through coax cable, to an amplifier, then to a splitter and sent to each broadcast antenna. An active system takes the outside signal from the donor antenna through coax cable to a digital conversion unit, then through fiber to a remote unit, through coax cable, and finally to the broadcast antennas. A passive system is best for buildings less than 100,000 square feet and active systems are better for buildings greater than 100,000 square feet.
Is it required by code? According to the 2015, 2018, and 2021 International Fire Code Section 510.4.1, every building shall have acceptable signal coverage when strength measurements are at 95% in all areas and 99% in critical areas as denoted by the AHJ. The system itself is not required but if your building does not meet code, the AHJ could require one to be installed.
Where can I find it in the code? NFPA 72 – 2013, 2016, 2019 IFC – 2015, 2018, 2021 NFPA 1221 – 2016, 2019
What can cause interruptions in signal? There are many reasons that signal can be interrupted for public safety radios. Certain construction materials such as concrete, fiberglass, low-e glass, and more can cause disruptions in the signal. Obstructions outside of the building can also affect the signal like tall trees, hills, new buildings, and storms.
What are considerations when designing these systems? It is most important to know the frequencies that the local fire and police departments operate at. Generally, public safety operates in the 700/800 MHz Public Safety band, VHF band, or UHF band. Often, they will operate within multiple bands which may require more than one system. While it is important to know the central frequency, it is important to also know the frequency band that is required to be amplified and if there are separate uplink/downlink frequencies. Also, the lead designer and installation personnel must have (at least) a valid FCC-issued General Radiotelephone Operator License and certification of in-building systems issued by an approved organization or manufacturer of the equipment.
How do I know if I need to install a DAS? In general areas, 95% coverage is required and in critical areas 99% coverage is required. The inbound/outbound signal must be sufficient to provide no less than a DAQ (Delivered Audio Quality) of 3.0. Within existing buildings, the owner can verify coverage by a Grid Test. A Grid Test works by dividing each floor into a grid of 20 equally sized test areas. A fully calibrated portable radio is utilized at the center of each grid to measure the signal strength at each. If more than one grid fails, the building does not meet the 95% coverage requirement. If two grids fail, the floor will be divided into 40 equally sized test areas and if no more than two nonadjacent grids fail, the system passes. If your system fails, a DAS will need to be installed as required by the AHJ. Within new buildings, you cannot fully know if there is limited coverage until construction is underway and the shell is complete. Then, it is required as designated above. Typically, though, larger buildings like hospitals, malls, large schools, campuses, convention centers, and stadiums usually require additional coverage.
What are the inspection requirements? The building must be tested annually and when there are structural changes. Testing includes the Grid Test as described above, all amplifiers must have their gain measured, recorded, and stored with the building owner, 1 hour load testing of all batteries and power supplies, and verifying operation of all active components. Once testing is complete, a report must be sent to the fire code official.
What are the battery backup requirements? Either 12 hours or 24 hours depending on what year IFC is locally adopted. IFC 2015 requires 24 hours and IFC 2015 & 2018 require 12 hours.
Does this need to connect to the Fire Alarm System? Yes. The FACP must monitor the system and provide a supervisory alarm for the following –
Donor Antenna Malfunction
Active RF-emitting device failure
Low-battery capacity indication when 70 percent of the 12-hour operating capacity has been depleted
Active system component failure
Loss of normal AC power
Failure of battery charger
The communications link between the fire alarm system and the emergency responder radio enhancement system
A dedicated annunciator shall also be provided for annunciating the status of –
Normal AC power
Loss of normal AC power
Battery charger failure
Low-battery capacity (i.e., to 70 percent depletion)
Donor antenna malfunction
Active RF-emitting device malfunction
Active system component malfunction
What other terms should I be aware of?
See NFPA 1221 for more definitions
Public Safety Frequencies – the frequencies in which the local jurisdictions will operate their radios under. They may fall under 3 different bands and each band requires a separate system.
Class A – amplifies individual frequencies separately with no other outside frequencies from other jurisdictions amplified. A more expensive system but are more specialized, reduce noise, and are good for downtown areas
Class B – amplifies the entire band and all frequencies within that range that operate will be amplified. A less expensive system but can create noise and is good for rural or suburban areas.
Class B systems are the only ones that need to be registered with the FCC currently. In order to register the system, an FCC Licensee must approve the commissioning of the system and register under their FRN (FCC Registration Number).
Uplink/Downlink – Also known as Receive/Transmit
Uplink – signals from the DAS/BDA system are sent from the server antennas to the donor antennas.
Downlink – signals from the DAS/BDA are sent from the donor antenna to the server antennas.
Trust and Cyber Security How secure is your security? Ensure your security software and hardware has cyber security and responsibility at its core.
Reliability and Resiliency Can you count on your security? Ensure your security hardware and software is architected to maximize uptime built with redundancy and failover capability.
Integration Is your security on an island or is it an integral part of your operation? Integrations with Active Directory, Visitor Management, Intrusion Detection can securely streamline managing your facility operations.
Esscoe was granted the opportunity to work on their largest design-build project yet. It showcases Esscoe’s ability to self-perform complex professionally engineered systems in-house, the strength of our supplier-partner and sub-contractor network and their ability and eagerness to work for Esscoe, our agility and ability to rapidly respond to design-build RFP’s at the preliminary stage and conceptual level, and, most importantly, partner. A partnership that serves to ensure America’s supply chain infrastructure.
America’s leading Storefront retailer is competing with America’s Online leading retailer for the home and B2B delivery business and introducing a fully automated storage retrieval system and packaging system to increase speed to your doorstep and minimize packaging waste.
This 3D automated storage and retrieval system within the facility is produced by the Austrian company, KNAPP AG. The KNAPP OSR (Order, Storage, Retrieval) Shuttle System™ uses robotic shuttles to traverse the storage system, pick out a storage tote, and then bring it to a product “picking station” where workers then pull the requested quantity of said product. The shuttle then returns the tote automatically until called again for another customer order or to replenish product inventory storage levels. This system is over 12 million cubic feet, more than the volume of 100 hot air balloons!
Esscoe also has a strategic partnership with Edwards. This showcases Esscoe’s competitive advantage with simplifying complicated fire alarm network systems using Fiber optic cabling, lower total installed costs through use of the industry’s lowest current draw Fire Alarm Strobes, and intelligible voice evacuation signaling (a.k.a. Mass Notification) for life safety, workplace security and severe weather advanced notification.
Esscoe sets itself apart from the competition with in-house design capabilities, use of Air-Sampling Smoke Detection with VESDA™ (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) to protect our Nation’s supply chain with the ability to rapidly detect and locate the threat of fire in high-dollar capital equipment (KNAPP OSR), large value of stored inventory (food, clothing, commodities and supplies) and our rapid construction speed.
ESSCOE’s In-House Design & Commissioning Group Consists of:
NCEES accredited Professional Fire Protection Engineers
NICET Level IV Fire Alarm Systems Layout Technicians
NICET Level III Fire Alarm Systems Layout Designers
NICET Level II Inspection, Testing & Fire Alarm Systems Inspectors
AXIS Site Designer is a comprehensive, professional tool for designing video surveillance systems. Accessible via web browser, it allows for design work on-site. This tool can work with floor plans or satellite map images, and with adjustable view shapes for dozens of camera types, you can be sure that you can get 100% of the coverage necessary for your facility.
Axis Site Designer provides accurate calculations for pixel density, bandwidth and storage estimates, and power requirements, giving you confidence in the quality and reliability of our design. It also creates exportable camera configuration reports and installation plans so that engineered details are translated onto your site as intended. Whether your needs include a few key cameras, or many more, Axis Site Designer equips us to engineer professional video surveillance systems to fit any project.
Here at Esscoe, The Engineered Systems Company, we provide Enterprise Level CCTV & Access Control Solutions. These services allow us to satisfy needs from small to large facilities. We give you peace of mind about your building being protected.
Our Enterprise Level CCTV is world class, with resolutions up to 4k and beyond. We look at your facility and take your needs into consideration.
Esscoe provides Access Control with experience in many markets – including, but not limited to, government, healthcare, office buildings, assisted living, education, corporate campuses, logistics, and property management.
Our handful of awards and recognition from 2021 include AXIS Communications Top Regional Partner and AXIS Camera Station Specialist.
Whether it is integrating CCTV with access control, remote site IP video archiving and storage or integrating other types of systems, our team of in-house, fully-certified industry professionals will develop and maintain the security solutions you rely on.
Enable your IT and Physical Security systems to work together, for you.
Microsoft Active Directory integration facilitates the centralized management and synchronization of Windows user accounts with Security Center’s administrator and cardholder accounts.
Adding Windows users in Active Directory will automatically create Security Center users and/or cardholders. Synchronization is automated so the overall process is efficient and eliminates typical manual intervention and errors in the process.
With Active Directory integration to Security Center, you save valuable time by configuring the link only once for your Synergis™ access control, Omnicast™ video surveillance, and AutoVu™ automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) systems.
Key Benefits include:
Ensures secure access to your security software and physical facilities is up to date
Promotes cooperation, sharing of data, and consistency throughout your organization
Streamlines user management, taking human error out of the equation
Simplifies cardholder management, allowing your team to be more productive
Automated synchronization eliminates burdensome paperwork and emails for managing employee access
Security groups are visible within Security Center leading to quick selection of groups and users to sync
Esscoe prides themselves in their dedicated compliance team. How do we ensure the best and safest services are up to date? We have a collaborative approach and an in-depth competency of healthcare compliance amongst our staff to assist all of your needs, from planning to execution.
Esscoe annual fire alarm inspection service includes:
Web-based reporting and archiving tools for fire alarm and emergency light inspections and system testing.
Bar-coding the individual fire alarm equipment tested, the results all referenced to a date and time stamp for a full audit trail, inventory control and historical records.
Full functional testing in accordance with NFPA 72, IDPH, DNV and Joint Commission.
Detailed approach to prove your dedication to the protection of your people and property.
Esscoe Systems Help State, Local, and Federal Government Operate Under Any Condition
Lake Zurich, IL — (March 2020) Esscoe, a life safety and security integrator serving the Upper Midwest, is a trusted advisor, partner, and provider to the federal government, prestigious school districts and world-class universities, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities and to small private businesses as well as many publicly traded corporations. Esscoe is complying with Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-10 to “Stay at Home”, yet as an Essential Business, Esscoe has State, Local and Federal Government clients who operate essential infrastructures that must continue for the safety, health and welfare of all, therefore Esscoe will need to remain operational in accordance with Executive Order 2020-10 throughout the time period specified (through Tuesday, April 7th, 2020).
Esscoe deploys cloud-based solutions for their clients every day and already operate with a robust teleworker infrastructure, so ceasing non-essential operations at their office locations and switching staff to stay at home will be possible to a certain extent.
Where things will change is in social distancing amongst Esscoe essential staff. The IP based video surveillance cameras, intercom stations and access control systems in the Esscoe office today primarily function as show pieces. Starting Monday, March 23, these systems will now be used just as Esscoe’s clients use them, to securely validate essential visitors and remotely grant access to parcel carriers and freight deliveries. This minimizes or eliminates contact between Esscoe staff and those other essential service providers.
Clients who now have empty buildings are looking to accelerate their preventive maintenance and inspection services on their camera, access control and fire alarm systems. And other clients, to the extent possible are pushing to get those disruptive system upgrades done now rather than wait.
Every business is thrown for a loop due to the COVID-19 emergency, and Esscoe no different. Esscoe is grateful to have earned the trust of their clients over the past 15 years. Those clients look to Esscoe to drive and manage the life safety and security of their building environments, while they focus on managing their businesses and constituencies in these times.
Hospital boasts state-of-the-art one-way voice evacuation fire signaling and detection system
Lake Zurich, IL — (January 2018) Esscoe, a life safety and security integrator, furnished and commissioned a one-way voice evacuation fire signaling and detection system for the new 360,000 square-foot, 128-bed Centegra Hospital in Huntley. This Level 2 Trauma Center serves the surrounding communities of McHenry County and features an EST 3 voice network with defend-in-place survivability and smoke management control.
“We have been the trusted life safety partner for many hospitals and schools,” says Scott Bartmess, Principal. “This project was special in that a Level 2 Trauma Center was greatly needed in this community. We are proud to participate in the early stages and help our client choose the best system for their needs.”
Esscoe is a trusted advisor, partner, and provider to the federal government, prestigious school districts and world-class universities, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities and to small private businesses as well as many publicly traded corporations. High-Profile projects include Medline Corporation’s Northfield Campus, Centegra Hospital – Huntley, IL, Juneau Federal Building, and Ida Crown Jewish Academy.
Esscoe specializes in life safety and security integrations serving four sectors: federal, education, healthcare, and business. The company is a trusted advisor, partner, and provider to the federal government, prestigious school districts and world-class universities, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities and to small private businesses as well as many publicly traded corporations. Esscoe provides a full range of services specializing in design, engineering, installation, inspection and repair addressing the needs of all stakeholders. It provides fully integrated platforms; matching unique needs with best-in class solutions bringing together major components and services as one solution.
Esscoe has received numerous awards and recognition including Strategic Partner of the Year and recognition from the U.S. Department of Defense. Esscoe’s portfolio of solution offerings encompasses a full service organization with a team of field technicians and inspectors who are regularly trained and certified by the manufacturers of the systems esscoe furnishes and installs. Service is available 24 / 7 / 365. Founded in 2005, Esscoe continues to be owned by the founding shareholder group. www.esscoe.com