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In-Building Public Safety - Transitioning from Early Adoption to Scalable Ecosystem

John Foley  (Managing Director, Safer Buildings Coalition)

Alan Perdue  (Executive Director, Safer Buildings Coalition)

Seth Buechley  (CEO, Cathedral Consulting)

Date: Tuesday, September 28

Time: 2:30pm - 5:30pm

Track: In-Building Wireless

Format: 3-Hour Workshop

Vault Recording: TBD

In this Executive Discussion featuring three separate presentations we explore how the Emergency Responder Communications Enhancement Systems (ERCES) ecosystem to support in-building wireless communication is undergoing a technology adoption transition. These presentations will examine the challenges and opportunities that must be addressed to ensure quality, consistent in-building wireless coverage that protects the public and first responders.


2:30 PM
Seek First to Understand: The Current State of ERCES

John Foley, General Manager Safer Buildings Coalition

Chief Alan Perdue - Executive Director Safer Buildings Coalition
Radio System Administrator – Major Jurisdiction
CTO – Major In-Building OEM
CEO – Major In-Building System Integrator
AHJ – Leading Code Official

This expert panel examines the current state of the Emergency Responder Communications Enhancement Systems (ERCES) Ecosystem.
• Where are fire and building codes being enforced? What are the upcoming markets?
• Workforce Development: Are we skilled enough?
• Operating at scale: Can industry meet current and future demands?
• Opportunities and Headwinds: What’s keeping us up at night, and what is the opportunity?
• Noise Noise Noise! Treating the public safety radio environment as a continuous system that must work seamlessly

3:30 PM
Start with the End in Mind: Establishing ERCES Best Practices and Criteria for Excellence

John Foley, General Manager Safer Buildings Coalition

Radio System Administrator – Major Jurisdiction
AHJ – Leading Code Official
Expert – Wireless Testing
Expert – Wireless Monitoring and Maintenance

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

Seth Buechley, Founder – Safer Buildings Coalition, CEO, Cathedral Consulting

Alan Perdue – SBC
Education Ecosystem Leader – TBD
Workforce Development Specialist – TBD
Certification Body Expert – Chip Hollis - 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.