High-rise buildings in New York City face great risks and multiple avenues for the spread of smoke and fire. Fighting a fire in a high-rise structure is approached differently than other types of facilities and could have repercussions that could spread for several blocks. In 2014, the City of New York instituted Sections 403.4.4 and 907.2.13.2 of the NYC Building Code. This code required all new commercial buildings (taller than 75 feet) and residential buildings (taller than 100 feet) being constructed to have an Auxiliary Radio Communication Systems (ARCS) installed for First Responder use only.
An ARCS provides a dedicated communication medium for the First Responders while responding to the emergency in that particular building. The First Responders, including the FDNY, NYPD, EMTs, FBI, CIA, Port Authority PD, and the Federal Secret Service are able to communicate via a frequency spectrum that is exclusive to their equipment.
Regular, monthly testing of an ARCS ensures that the communication systems work exactly as they are designed. Hopefully you would never need to use these systems in a true emergency, however, it is very important to maintain their integrity and fulfill the FDNY testing requirements in order to avoid any violations.
FDNY In-Building Radio System Testing Regulations
According to the City of New York, simply knowing that an ARCS functions is not sufficient. A successful FDNY radio system test also ensures adequate signal strength in all areas of the building that might be accessed by First Responders . Upon completion of the installation and commissioning of an ARCS, the Fire Department of New York requires routing inspections and testing to ensure the systems’ integrity.
This testing requires a licensed company and certified individual to oversee the process. This professional must hold a Certificate of Fitness issued by the Fire Department of New York. This person oversees the testing process and holds the prerequisite skills pertaining to New York City’s Fire Code, Building Code and the standards that are applicable to each ARCS test.