An emergency responder radio communication system (ERRCS) is a wireless public safety system that receives external radio signals and retransmits them inside a facility – ensuring first responders such as police, fire, medical, and other disaster response agencies have an effective and reliable way to communicate during emergencies.
ERRCS is critical and requires annual testing to ensure standards are met and interference is minimized. Failure to maintain regulatory compliance results in fines and can delay obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).
To avoid these outcomes, here is everything building owners and facility managers need to know about ERRCS annual inspections.
What are ERRCS Annual Inspections?
Drawing on suggested ordinances written by NFPA and IFC, many local jurisdictions now require annual inspections. ERRCS annual inspections are designed to uncover issues related to equipment malfunction, coverage, and interference. A licensed and certified technician will conduct an annual inspection, evaluating certain components to ensure the system remains in compliance and continues to operate as intended.
During an annual inspection, a certified ERRCS integrator will perform the following tasks:
- Review technical information and on-site documentation
- Visually inspect the system to ensure all components are properly installed
- Measure system coverage and conduct grid testing
- Verify equipment alarms
- Conduct backup battery tests
- Compile a compliance report with recommendations for any corrective actions
Who is Responsible for ERRCS Annual Inspections?
The burden of ERRCS annual inspections falls upon the building owner or facility manager. It’s the responsibility of the building owner to keep their ERRCS operational and compliant at all times. Building owners cannot obtain a Certificate of Occupancy without an ERRCS that meets the interpretations of the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) in their respective regions. Building owners can use qualified ERRCS service providers to conduct annual inspections for compliance.
Who is Qualified to Conduct the Inspection?
Annual ERRCS inspections can be conducted by experienced ERRCS integrators who are FCC licensed and capable of performing signal strength grid tests, interference testing, and general health checkups using sophisticated testing equipment.
Businesses should only partner with trusted ERRCS integrators who have established relationships with local AHJs and fire departments. These vendors will have intimate knowledge of the inspection process, each jurisdiction’s code requirements, and particular building needs.
How Much Does an Annual ERRCS Inspection Cost?
The cost for an annual emergency responder radio communication system (ERRCS) inspection varies depending on facility layout, structure, and functionality. Building owners and facility managers should budget anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000, depending on the system's sophistication.
Do ERRCS Require Retesting?
Emergency responder radio communication systems must be retested annually to ensure compliance with NFPA, IFC, and local AHJ code requirements. Besides the mandated annual test, several situations require retesting, such as:
- When local authorities change their radio frequencies
- If local authorities update from an analog to a digital-based system
- New construction or environmental elements that cause significant signal interference
Does Your Building Meet Emergency Responder Radio Coverage Requirements?
Annual ERRCS inspections and re-certification tests are essential for public safety compliance. A well-maintained and compliant ERRCS can save lives and facilitate first responders’ jobs in the event of an emergency.
Since ERRCS are complex and influenced by ever-evolving requirements, businesses should partner with a reputable ERRCS integrator to conduct annual inspections. An experienced company will guide you through the inspection process and have detailed knowledge of the current codes to ensure compliance.