LAFD Emergency Responder DAS System 8-7-18 Revisions

LAFD Emergency Responder DAS System 8-7-18 Revisions

New LAFD ERRCS/Public Safety DAS Requirements

by Will Washburn  – 2/26/19

In August of 2018, Los Angeles Fire Department updated their requirements for ERRCS systems installed in their jurisdiction. Their new publication #105 was published on 8/7/2018. There were not too many substantive changes, however, some have great impact. A review of the augmentations is listed below in an analysis format, with my comments below each section. Some of the highlights are,  the change from 12-hour to 24-hour battery back requirements, the ability to share passive infrastructure with cellular DAS systems and the procedure for final inspection of installed systems. I have listed each section for analysis.

Applicability

Old 9/30/2015 Language

Applicability – Section 510.1 of the 2013 California Fire Code / 2014 Los Angeles City Fire Code shall be interpreted to mean any portion of a new building constructed where radio coverage signal strength levels are not consistent with Section 510.4.1 of the 2013 California Fire Code / 2014 Los Angeles City Fire Code and meets any one of the following conditions:

  1. There are more than 3-stories above grade plane
  2. The total building area is 50,000 square feet or more
  3. The total basement or parking area is 10,000 square feet or more
  4. Any basement or level that extends 2 or more stories below grade plane
  5. Any building that is 20,000 square feet or greater and is equipped with a solar voltaic system

Section 510.2 of the 2013 California Fire Code / 2014 Los Angeles City Fire Code shall be interpreted to mean any existing building that undergoes modification, to the extent that the building’s fire alarm system must be replaced, or upgraded and re-certified and meets any one of the conditions listed above for new buildings under Section 510.1 of the 2013 California Fire Code / 2014 Los Angeles City Fire Code.

New 8/7/2018 Language

Applicability – Section 510.1 of the 2016 California Fire Code / 2017 Los Angeles Fire Code shall be interpreted to mean any portion of a new building constructed where radio coverage signal strength levels are not consistent with Section 510.4.1 of the 2016 California Fire Code / 2017 Los Angeles Fire Code and meets any one of the following conditions:

  1. There are more than 3-stories above grade plane.
  2. The total building area is 50,000 square feet or more.
  3. The total basement area is 10,000 square feet or more.
  4. Any basement or level that extends 2 or more stories below grade plane.
  5. Any building that is 20,000 square feet or greater and is equipped with a solar photovoltaic system.

Exception: R-3 Occupancy

Section 510.2 of the 2016 California Fire Code/ 2017 Los Angeles Fire Code shall be interpreted to mean any existing building where the building’s fire alarm system is replaced and the building meets any one of the conditions listed above for new buildings under Section 510.1 of the 2016 California Fire Code/ 2017 Los Angeles Fire Code.

Comments: Not much has changed here except the R3 Occupancy exemption. The definition of R-3 Dwellings, includes lodging houses; and congregate residences (each accommodating 10 or fewer persons) and large family day-care homes.

 

Non-Interference

Old 9/30/2015 Language

Non-Interference – No amplification system capable of operating on frequencies or causing interference on frequencies assigned to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) by the FCC shall be installed without prior coordination with, and approval of the LAFD.  The Building Manager/Owner shall suspend and immediately correct any other equipment installation(s) that degrade the performance of the public safety radio system or public safety radio enhancement system.

New 8/7/2018 Language

Non-Interference – No amplification system capable of operating on frequencies or causing interference on frequencies assigned to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) by the FCC shall be installed without prior coordination with and approval of the LAFD. The Building Manager/Owner shall suspend and immediately correct any other equipment installation(s) that degrade the performance of the public safety radio system or public safety radio enhancement system.

Cellular Distributed Antenna Systems – Cellular distributed antenna system amplifiers may share common passive devices as long as there is no compromise of the emergency responder radio system coverage. Engineering factors shall be considered in the design when using multi-band antennas and indicated on the as-built drawings.

Comments: This is a good revision! Sharing common passive infrastructure with cellular DAS can dramatically reduce the CAPEX of deployment of these systems. Many jurisdictions do not allow this, as they fear that filtering is required to protect the signal in their frequency, and there is the potential for interference. This is true, however most in-building DAS deployments are being designed with the base of 1900 Mhz and 2100 Mhz frequencies, which do not interfere with the VHF, UHF and 700/800Mhz frequencies, allowing shared infrastructure without filtering.

 

Approval and Permit

Old 9/30/2015 Language

Approval and Permit – Detailed as-built drawings including cable path(s) and equipment location(s) shall be submitted 10 working days prior to final inspection and acceptance test.

New 8/7/2018 Language

Approval and Permit – LAFD plan review and approval is required for the installation or modification of ERRS.

Detailed as-built drawings including cable path(s), equipment location(s) and an 800 MHz Emergency Responder Radio System RF Test shall be submitted – prior to final inspection and acceptance test.

Comments: Again, not much change here, just the addition of the grid test to be submitted and the removal of “10 working days prior to final inspection”.

Additional Frequencies

Old 9/30/2015 Language

Additional Frequencies – Frequencies used by the LAFD may change as a result of FCC order, or other operational requirements of the LAFD.  In the event of such frequency change, and upon notification by the LAFD, the Building Owner shall modify or expand the emergency responder radio coverage system at their own expense.

New 8/7/2018 Language

Additional Frequencies – Frequencies used by the LAFD may change as a result of FCC order or other operational requirements of the LAFD. In the event of such frequency change, and upon notification by the LAFD, the building owner shall modify or expand the emergency responder radio system coverage at their expense. The Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) may require coverage in the future for FirstNet Broadband Services as NFPA 72, NFPA 1221 and Fire Code 510 are amended.

Comments: LAFD added the proviso that they may require coverage for FirstNet in the future.

 

Labeling

Old 9/30/2015 Language

No language regarding labeling in 2015 document.

New 8/7/2018 Language

Labeling

  1. Provide a sign on all doors providing access to ERRS stating: “EMERGENCY RESPONDER RADIO SYSTEM EQUIPMENT INSIDE.”
  2. Provide sign on donor antennas stating: “EMERGENCY RESPONDER RADIO SYSTEM.”

Comments: Most qualified vendors are already doing this.

 

System Components

Old 9/30/2015 Language

System Components

Section 510.4.2.4, items 1 through 4 of the 2013 California Fire Code / 2014 Los Angeles Fire Code shall be enforced with the following additional clarifications:

External Filters – Permanent external filters and attachments shall not be permitted

Signal Booster Components – If used, signal boosters shall meet the following requirements:

  1. Signal boosters shall have FCC certification prior to installation and shall be NFPA72 and/or IFC510.1 compliant
  2. All signal boosters shall be compatible with both analog and digital communications simultaneously at the time of installation
  3. Power Supplies –At least two independent and reliable power supplies shall be provided for all repeater, transmitter, receiver, and signal booster components, one primary and one secondary

 

New 8/7/2018 Language

System Components

Section 510.4.2.4, Items 1 through 4 of the 2016 California Fire Code / 2017 Los Angeles Fire Code shall be enforced with the following additional clarifications:

Equipment- All equipment shall be listed by nationally recognized testing laboratory for its intended use.

External Filters – Permanent external filters and attachments shall not be permitted.

Signal Booster Components – If used, signal boosters shall meet the following requirements:

  1. Signal boosters shall have FCC certification prior to installation and shall be NFPA 72 and/or IFC510.1 compliant.
  2. All signal boosters shall be compatible with both analog and digital communications simultaneously at the time of installation.

Power Sources -At least two independent and reliable power sources shall be provided for all repeater, transmitter, receiver, and signal booster components, one primary and one secondary.

  1. All repeater, transmitter, receiver, signal booster components, external filters and battery system components shall be contained in UL approved type 4 or 4X enclosure.
  2. Donor antenna cabling and connections shall be weatherproof, protected from physical damage and properly supported.

Comments: The only change here is removing the reference to the Nema-4 enclosures and the weatherproofing, which I feel is misplaced and should not be a subcategory under “Power Sources”

Power Sources

Old 9/30/2015 Language

Power Sources

a) Primary Power Source – The primary power source shall supply from a dedicated branch circuit and comply with NFPA 72 2013 edition, section 10.6.5.1

b) Secondary Power source – (one (1) of the two (2) methods as listed below)

  1. A storage battery dedicated to the system with at least 12 hours at 100 percent system operation capacity and arranged in accordance with NFPA 72 2013 edition, Section 10.6.10
  2. An automatic –starting engine driven generator serving the dedicated branch circuit or the system with at least 12 hours of 100 percent system operation capacity and arranged in accordance with NFPA 72 2013 edition, Section 10.6.11.3

New 8/7/2018 Language

Power Sources

a) Primary Power Source – The primary power source shall be supplied from a dedicated branch circuit and comply with NFPA 72, 2016 Edition, Section 10.6.5.1.

b) Secondary Power source – In the event of a fault or failure of the primary power supply, ERRS system shall automatically and immediately transfer to a secondary power source; while constantly maintaining all ERRS required functions and operation available without restarting the system. One the following secondary power sources can be used:

  1. A storage battery dedicated to the system with at least 24-hours at 100% system operation capacity and arranged in accordance with NFPA 72, 2016 Edition, Section 10.6.10.
  2. An automatic -starting engine driven emergency generator serving the dedicated branch circuit or the system with at least 24-hours of 100% system operation capacity and arranged in accordance with NFPA 72, 2016 Edition, Section 10.6.11.3. In addition to the generator, the ERRS shall be provided with a primary battery backup unit of no less than two hours of full system run-time, which shall ensure continuous coverage until the engine driven emergency generator starts.

c) All electrical breakers for ERRS shall be properly labeled and shall be provided with an approved breaker locking device.

Comments: The big change here is the increase from 12-hour to 24-hour battery back-up requirement.  Also new is the labeling and locking of the dedicated branch circuit breaker.

Pathway Survivability

Old 9/30/2015 Language

Pathway Survivability – All system riser cables shall be in conduits and shall consist of one or more of the following:

  1. 2-hour fire-rated circuit integrity (CI) cable
  2. 2-hour fire rated-cable system
  3. 2-hour fire-rated enclosure or protected area
  4. 2-hour performance alternative approved by the authority having jurisdiction

New 8/7/2018 Language

Pathway Survivability – All system riser cables shall be in conduits and shall consist of one or more of the following:

  1. Buildings where interior exit stairway and ramp enclosure are required to have fire­ resistance rating of no less than two hours:
  •  2-hour fire-rated circuit integrity (Cl) cable.
  •  2-hour fire rated-cable system.
  •  2-hour fire-rated enclosure or protected area.
  •  2-hour performance alternative approved by the AHJ.
  1. Buildings where interior exit stairway and ramp enclosure are required to have fire­ resistance rating of no less than one hour.
  • 1-hour fire-rated Cl cable.
  • 1-hour fire rated-cable system.
  • 1-hour fire-rated enclosure or protected area.
  • 1-hour performance alternative approved by the AHJ.

 

Comments: LAFD split this section into 2 by defining 1 hr and 2hr rated requirements. In my experience, I have never encountered a 1 hour resistance rating in this jurisdiction.

 

System Monitoring

Old 9/30/2015 Language

System Monitoring – The public safety radio communications enhancement system shall include automatic supervisory and trouble reporting for malfunctions of the signal booster and power supplies that are annunciated by the fire alarm system and UL listed supervising station monitoring company, or shall be monitored at a constantly attended location at the building and comply with the following:

  1. The integrity of circuit monitoring signal boosters and power supplies shall comply with NFPA 72 2013 edition, sections 10.6.9 and 12.6
  2. System and signal booster supervisory signals shall include the following:
  • Antenna malfunction
  • Signal booster failure
  • Low battery indication when 70 percent of the 12-hour operation capacity has been depleted
  1. Power supply signals shall include the following for each signal booster
  • Loss of normal power
  • Failure of battery charger

Dedicated Panel – A dedicated monitoring panel shall be provided in an area acceptable to the LAFD to annunciate the status of all signal booster locations.  The monitoring panel shall provide visual and labeled indication of the following for each signal booster:

  • Normal 120VAC power
  • Signal booster trouble
  • Loss of normal 120VAC power
  • Failure of battery power
  • Low battery capacity

New 8/7/2018 Language

System Monitoring – The public safety radio communications enhancement system shall include automatic supervisory and trouble reporting for malfunctions of the signal booster and power supplies that are annunciated by the fire alarm system and UL listed supervising station monitoring company or shall be monitored at a constantly attended location at the building and comply with the following:

  1. The integrity of circuit monitoring signal boosters and power supplies shall comply with NFPA 72, 2016 Edition, Sections 10.6.9 and 12.6.
  2. System and signal booster supervisory signals shall include the following:
  • Antenna malfunction
  • Signal booster failure
  • Low battery indication when 70% of the 24-hour operation capacity has been depleted
  1. Power supply signals shall include the following for each signal booster:
  • Loss of normal power
  • Failure of battery charger

ERRS signals on fire alarm annunciator panel shall be labeled “EMERGENCY RESPONDER RADIO SYSTEM.” There shall be one green LED signal indicating ERRS in normal mode and one yellow LED indicating system is in trouble.

Automatic smoke detection – Smoke detector shall be provided at the location of each ERRS control unit(s), storage battery unit(s) and monitoring panel.

Dedicated Panel – A dedicated monitoring panel shall be provided in an area acceptable and approved by the LAFD to annunciate the status of all signal booster locations. In buildings with fire alarm systems, a smoke detector shall be provided above monitoring panel. The monitoring panel shall provide visual and labeled indication of the following for each signal booster:

  • Normal 120VAC power
  • Signal booster trouble
  • Loss of normal 120VAC power
  • Failure of battery power
  • Low battery capacity

In special circumstances where a dedicated panel cannot be installed, a request for modification must be submitted and approved to annunciate on FACP.

Comments: The main changes here are the low battery indication change from 12-hour to 24-hour capacity, the annunciator labeling and the automatic smoke detector required at the head end and annunciator. They also added the language “In special circumstances where a dedicated panel cannot be installed, a request for modification must be submitted and approved to annunciate on FACP”.

Installation Requirements

No Changes Here

Minimum Qualifications

No Changes Here

 

Acceptance Test

Old 9/30/2015 Language

 Acceptance Test – Acceptance and Operational testing shall be in accordance with Section 510.5.3 of the 2013 California Fire Code / 2014 Los Angeles City Fire Code with the following clarifications:

  1. The final system acceptance test shall be witnessed by a Development Services Inspector or specific designee and shall include a visual inspection of the physical installation of the emergency responder coverage system.
  2. As part of the acceptance test, backup batteries and power supplies shall be tested in accordance with section 510.6.1(3) of the 2013 California Fire Code / 2014 Los Angeles City Fire Code.
  3. 510.5.3(7) – As part of the installation a spectrum analyzer or other suitable test equipment shall be utilized to evaluate the system for the entire spectrum range of frequencies used by the LAFD (856.2375MHz – 860.9375MHz and 811.2375MHz – 815.9375MHz, inclusive) to ensure spurious oscillations are not being generated or received by the building signal booster(s).  This test shall be conducted at time of installation and subsequent annual inspections.

New 8/7/2018 Language

Acceptance Test – Acceptance and Operational testing shall be in accordance with Section 510.5.3 of the 2016 California Fire Code / 2017 Los Angeles Fire Code with the following clarifications:

  1. The Fire Development Services lnspector(s) shall review the as-built drawings and link budget to ensure the physical installation is the same as the as-built drawings during the final system acceptance test.
  2. ERRS shall be inspected, approved and pre-test sheet signed by LADBS Electrical Inspection prior to requesting an acceptance inspection from LAFD.
  3. The final system acceptance test shall be witnessed by a Fire Development Services lnspector(s) or specific designee and shall include a visual inspection of the physical installation of the emergency responder radio system. Two Fire Development Services Inspectors shall conduct an on air test of the subject radio channels in all critical areas and spot tests in non-critical areas. A qualified Engineer or Technician from the designing or installing company shall be present with appropriate test equipment to verify all measurements are in compliance with Section 510.5.3 (1) through (5).
  4. As part of the acceptance test, backup batteries and power supplies shall be tested in accordance with Section 510.6.1(3) of the 2016 California Fire Code/ 2017 Los Angeles Fire Code.
  5. 510.5.3(7) – As part of the installation a spectrum analyzer or other suitable test equipment shall be utilized to evaluate the system for the entire spectrum range of frequencies used by the LAFD (856.2375MHz – 860.9375MHz and 811.2375MHz – 815.9375MHz, inclusive) to ensure spurious oscillations are not being generated or received by the building signal booster(s). This test shall be conducted at time of installation and subsequent annual inspections.

Comments: Quite a bit has changed here. The old process was that they would conduct a visual inspection of the installation, a battery back-up inspection and test the system for efficacy and oscillation or interference. Now the AHJ wants to see as-built drawings and link budgets, have a pre-test sheet signed by LADBS and conduct an on-air test and a physical inspection by a Fire Development Inspector.

Maintenance

No Changes Here

 

Annual Testing 

No Changes Here

In summary, there were not that many compliance issues that were changed. Most of them were aligned with our best practices and deployment processes. Los Angeles ranks as one of the more stringent AHJ’s and has strict enforcement of the code. It is wise to understand the changes,  plan accordingly and execute properly to ensure compliance and certificate of occupancy for the property owners.

Will Washburn, is the COO of Combined Operations for Digitechx Inc. a global provider of wireless services to the enterprise markets.

 

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