In-Building Public Safety Radio Coverage Requirements

Calvert County has established regulations for providing and maintaining a minimum radio signal strength for emergency responders in all new and renovated buildings. If necessary, two-way radio communication enhancement systems, which include special bi-directional amplifiers and a network of indoor antennas, collectively known as a Distributed Antenna System (DAS), should be installed to extend the coverage of the 700 and 800 MHz public safety communications systems to the building's interior.

Calvert County adopted NFPA 1, Fire Code, 2018 Edition, NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, 2018 Edition, and NFPA 1221, Standard for the Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Emergency Services Communications Systems, 2016 Edition, as its standard for Communications Enhancement Systems. NFPA 1 and NFPA 101 provide coverage requirements for reliable public safety radio system coverage in occupancies, while NFPA 1221 provides requirements for the design, installation, and maintenance of communication enhancements systems.

However, modern building designs, particularly those required for LEED-certified buildings, make it challenging or impossible to provide reliable two-way radio coverage for first responders operating inside many buildings. Therefore, the county has developed a framework and policy for building owners and developers to comply with the in-building public safety radio coverage requirements of NFPA 1221-2016.

It is essential to ensure that DAS systems are designed, installed, maintained, and repaired by qualified personnel to meet NFPA 1221-2016's coverage reliability requirements and avoid unintended harmful interference with other users of the RF spectrum licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. Building owners and developers can contact for more information.

Learn more and download the documentation and application package below: