Skip to Content

Is your senior housing facility’s public safety DAS compliant with the new Florida Fire Code?

Setting the Standard for Safety

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global organization founded in 1896 to mitigate the risks of death, injury, structure, and economic loss due to fire. Since their founding, they have positioned themselves as the authority of structural and building codes and standards. Even further, they have enacted codes and standards regarding in-building communications for public safety systems.

Florida Fire Code Effecting These Systems

A Public Safety Communications System is the wireless system, owned and operated by the local authorities, or Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), that disseminates radio frequencies to areas of a facility. These systems are used for two-way communication by first responders and emergency personnel including fire, police, and emergency medical teams, and also spanning to Homeland Security and disaster response agencies. It’s imperative for these radio frequencies to have the ability to travel where they need to go in the event of an emergency or disaster.

To ensure radio frequencies can penetrate all areas of your facility, a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) is used to boost their reach. A DAS makes sure signals are string in hard to reach areas such as elevators, basements, stairwells, and thick-walled or blocked areas. Owning and operating these systems falls on the responsibility of the facility owner.

It’s important for those responding or attempting to prevent a disaster or emergency to have reliable, quality communication, and NFPA has made sure states are realizing it by enacting the NFPA 72 code.

Email to Schedule a Consultation & See if Your Facility is Complian

NFPA 72 Code: What You Need to Know

The most recent NFPA code, NFPA 72, outlines the high-level requirements for Public Safety Communications System and Distributed Antenna Systems for your senior housing facility based in Florida. From there, NFPA is letting the Florida AHJ give specific direction of the implementation of these systems. The six high-level requirements include:

  1. Coverage
    1. There are two types of coverage areas, critical and general. Critical areas include emergency command centers, fire pump rooms, exit stairs, exit passageways, elevator lobbies, standpipe cabinets and other areas deemed critical and must have 99% coverage. General areas are classified as areas such as lobbies, hallways, offices, conference rooms and other common areas and must have at least 90% coverage.
  2. Signal Strength
    1. At the very minimum, inbound and outbound signal strengths of -95 dBm is required.
  3. System Components
    1. All RF equipment shall have FCC type acceptance and must be operated in accordance with commission rules.
  4. Equipment
    1. Must be installed in accordance with NEMA enclose standards.
  5. Power Supplies
    1. Battery backup is required, duration of 12 or 24hr is defined by the local AHJ
  6. System Monitoring
    1. An automatic-monitoring system with a dedicated panel in the emergency command center of the building must track the following:
      1. BDA operations
      2. Antenna malfunction
      3. Oscillating amplifiers
      4. Power supply operations
      5. AC operational lost
      6. Battery backup failure

Dates to Know: Florida Statue 603.202

Requiring the state’s Fire Marshall to adopt the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Prevention Code standards, including emergency communication systems, became effective on December 31, 2019. It requires certain buildings to meet specific standards under NFPA for in-building, two-way radio coverage. Read the specifics below:

  • The authority having jurisdiction shall determine the minimum radio signal strength for fire department communications in all new high-rise and existing high-rise buildings.
  • All commercial buildings greater than 10,000 sq. ft. and new construction and remodeling projects where the Certificate of Occupancy increases by 20% requires compliance to the new Florida code. Compliance required. All Commercial buildings greater than 10,000 sq ft.

Existing Buildings: Permit on file by December 31, 2019 and required to comply by January 1, 2022

Existing Apartment Buildings: Permit on file by December 31, 2022 and required to comply by January 1, 2025

Maintain Strong, Compliant In-Building Connectivity

The Authority Having Jurisdiction in your area will ensure compliance and not give you a Certificate of Occupancy without proper following of the NFPA requirements. Progressive is equipped to mitigate the bottlenecking of equipment and service fulfillment that is bound to arise as these deadlines quickly approach. We’ll work with your senior living facility’s building owner, local AHJ, and public safety network experts to ensure your facility maintains compliant and connected.

Progressive can:

  • Decipher code requirements
  • Control your costs

Read the full code here:

Email to Schedule a Consultation & Audit Your Facility’s Compliance