Do You Need Public Safety DAS?

Clay Kobernick, supplier relations manager at Anixter, discusses why a public safety distributed antenna system (DAS) is necessary in a commercial building and shares some of the requirements for a reliable and compliant public safety communications system.

To learn more, read our TECHbrief on Public Safety DAS and NFPA 72.

Transcript: Do You Need Public Safety DAS?

Hi, I’m Clay Kobernick. Imagine you’re a firefighter in a burning building. You discover two people trapped in the stairwell, unconscious. You radio your crew to ask for help carrying them to safety. Unfortunately, there’s no signal coverage in the stairwell, and your message can’t get through. With no way to communicate with your crew or command, your job just became significantly more difficult and dangerous.

When lives hang in the balance, first responders should not be hampered by poor signal coverage. Voice communications, location information and video streaming are vital tools in an emergency. Unfortunately, many buildings have coverage holes, such as elevators, garages, tunnels and stairwells, where wireless communications may be impeded.

To achieve sufficient coverage, buildings must have a public safety distributed antenna system installed. In some U.S. cities, this is a requirement for obtaining an occupancy permit.

The most widely accepted standards for public safety DAS are set by the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72) and the International Fire Code. However, the specific coverage requirements vary by location and are not always enforced. Building owners should not aim for minimum compliance, but rather to provide a safe environment for everyone in and around your building.

A reliable public safety communications system meets all of the following requirements:

  • It’s on a different spectrum than your commercial wireless, and is strictly for the use of first responders. 
  • Its signal covers the entire building. This includes at least 99% coverage of critical areas such as fire pump rooms, exit stairs, exit passageways and elevator lobbies. 
  • It has a backup power source such as a 12-hour battery that keeps the system operational if the building’s power is out. 
  • And it has a monitoring system that alerts you to system malfunctions and low power.

By working with a qualified integrator to install a public safety communications system in your building, you can help first responders receive crucial support in the most difficult circumstances. To learn more about public safety DAS, visit, or talk to your Anixter representative.


TECHbrief: Public Safety DAS and NFPA 72