Public Safety systems exist to help in emergencies…what happens when the design of the system is the emergency?
The expansion of the Washington University (WashU) Campus in St. Louis, Missouri had a big problem.
“They were nine weeks out from occupancy,” recalled Brad Baumann, Vice President of Wireless Solutions at Gabe’s Construction Co., Inc. “They had just learned they needed a public safety solution for first responders.”
Gabe’s joined the team to design and engineer the public safety system—and to keep the building openings on track.
The company met with the approving entities right away. The fire marshal laid out his main concern: reliability and coverage for first responder communications.
“He was explicit that their radios had to work everywhere,” Baumann said. “When he walked the areas covered by the new system, he had his radio out, making sure he was heard clearly.”
Gabe’s also learned the buildings fell under two jurisdictions, the city and the county. The public safety system needed to accommodate both systems.
“It’s something owners can forget about,” said Baumann. “If a property is in multiple jurisdictions, the public safety system design needs to take that into account.”
The company took the information in stride. It tested tower locations and set up separate donor antenna points at each one.
Gabe’s collaborated with the WashU design team and its own contractors, including the building general contractor, a low-voltage contractor and an engineering contractor. It also applied its own staff to designing, commissioning, and acceptance testing.
“We had as many as 35 people working on this project over the nine weeks,” Baumann said. “It was tight. But we met everyone’s requirements. We got the job done.”
Focus on Public Safety
Gabe’s is well-known in the telecom and commercial real estate industries. But usually for its work with iDAS, oDAS, small cell engineering, commissioning and optimization, construction, and system integration, among other services.
What’s less commonly known is Gabe’s depth of experience with public safety systems.
“We want to share that expertise with building owners. Especially those with campus-style layouts, like modern office parks, universities, or other commercial districts,” explained Baumann.
Ideally, owners should plan for public safety early in the process. “It’s important to have an integrated public safety plan across a property or stand-alone buildings. You don’t want to do that piecemeal,” he said.
For older campuses not required to have a system in place, Baumann said it’s still a good idea. “We can help talk through the options available to provide public safety coverage for your occupants.”
Helping first responders
In addition to working with building owners, Gabe’s shares its public safety knowledge with first responders.
The team recently showed best practices to fire marshals from the City of Clearwater and other jurisdictions in Florida. Gabe’s taught attendees how to measure public safety RF signals inside buildings and across campuses. The team demonstrated RF grid testing and measurement collection.
“Our goal is to teach the importance of grid testing. And how it should be performed to meet National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), International Fire Codes (IFC), and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) requirements,” Baumann explained.
From new systems to retrofitting existing spaces, and from planned-in-advance to we-need-this-fast, Gabe’s team can help. Put their public safety system expertise to the test. Find out how Gabe’s can help your project meet required regulations and stay on track at www.gabes.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 18, 2019