3:30 PM Start with the End in Mind: Establishing ERCES Best Practices and Criteria for Excellence
Moderator: John Foley, General Manager Safer Buildings Coalition
• Michelle Geddes, CIO Dept. of Emergency Management, City of San Francisco
• Ed Steffens, Division Chief, Iona Fire
• David Adams, Director, PCTEL
• Joe Rohlic, Radio One, Program Manager Public Safety DAS
As Fire Codes pertaining to in-building public safety radio coverage have evolved over the past 12 years, there has been strong emphasis on expanding and refining the fire codes and standards, and the role of the Fire Marshal or Fire Code Inspector. While references to the FCC rules have always been present in the codes and standards, perhaps there hasn’t been enough focus on the FCC License Holder who actually operates the radio system.
Consequently, the processes that have evolved are too often missing the critical coordination steps that ensure that one hand knows what the other is doing, that the best solutions are chosen, and that above all else, the FCC rules are followed.
In a recent survey of public safety radio system operators the number one goal was to “Ensure First Responders Radios work inside and outside buildings and structures.”
The number one obstacle identified was “Getting all stakeholders on the same page.”
This expert panel examines key issues in recognizing, and addressing, the problems in the current ERCES ecosystem:
• Choosing the correct solution
• Comprehensive Stakeholder inclusion
• Testing to ensure intended wireless coverage is not causing harm to surrounding public safety or private radio systems.
• Maintenance practices, including preventive and recertification.
• Best Practices around how Cities collaborate with Counties or Regional authorities who maintain radio systems to share information, enforcement, etc.
4:30 PM Workforce Development: Creating a competent, scalable ERCES workforce
Moderator: Seth Buechley, Founder – Safer Buildings Coalition, CEO, Cathedral Consulting
• Chief Alan Perdue - Executive Director Safer Buildings Coalition
• Todd Schlekeway, President & CEO, National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE)
• Dave Hartin, Owner, The Hartin Company LLC
• Chip Hollis – Certification Body Expert – NICET
The Emergency Responder Communications Enhancement Systems (ERCES) sector is undergoing explosive growth due to the ever-increasing number of jurisdictions enforcing new codes and standards, the proliferation of RF blocking energy-efficient materials, and the expansion of higher speed wireless broadband by public safety agencies.
While this is attracting new and adjacent players and investment into the sector, it brings growing pains, such as workforce competency dilution, confusion about qualifications, and scaling limits.
With an estimated one million plus buildings in the US requiring coverage enhancement, it would take decades to solve for all coverage gaps at current industry capacity.
Some of the other impediments to growing this workforce are:
• Early stage of Certification and Training programs
• Lack of awareness of the wireless industry's career opportunities.
• Lack of industry programs at community and technical colleges.
• Competition from other industry sectors and construction trades.
• Technicians who are unwilling to travel extensively.
• A graying workforce approaching retirement.
This expert panel will examine what steps are being undertaken to close the skills and capacity gaps in the ERCES sector.