PSERN is Coming: Are You Ready?

PSERN and DAS: What Is It? 

Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network (PSERN) is a new public safety network set to roll out in the beginning of fall 2021. It’s being implemented to expand the current King County Emergency Radio Communication System (KCERCS). PSERN will be utilized by law enforcement and emergency personnel to effectively communicate during emergency situations.

To ensure the effectiveness of PSERN, buildings that currently have DAS need their system to be adjusted. DAS uses a series of antennas, a bidirectional amplifier (BDA), and a network of coaxial cable to supply coverage throughout a building.  DAS used in conjunction with a BDA makes sure signals are being amplified at the precise amount. This enables coverage throughout a building, even in especially hard-to-get coverage areas like parking garages, basements, or stairwells.  Excessive amplification or poorly installed systems wreak havoc upon the public safety radio network, so working with a professional integrator is key.   

How do I know if my building is affected?  If you’ve received this letter, or you know your building has DAS, you must take action to modify your DAS in preparation for PSERN. 

Importance of Being PSERN Compliant 

The greatest value of having an effective public emergency radio network is that it is a proactive, lifesaving tool. During 9/11, emergency responders who entered the twin towers had inadequate radio coverage to transmit and receive radio communications from inside the buildings. Being PSERN compliant keeps law enforcement, fire, emergency responders, and the general public safe in moments when communication is essential. 

In the years following that tragedy, DAS requirements were written into building fire codes, sometimes referred to as Emergency Responder Radio Coverage (ERRC) in codebooks. In Washington State, RCW 19.27.031 requires all public safety DAS in buildings be properly maintained and operational, this includes following changes to the radio system. According to PSERN’s official website, 

Property Owners, and their building management, whose buildings in King County host public safety Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), are responsible for maintaining their DAS. Just like a fire alarm system or sprinkler system, DAS must be maintained in working order and periodically inspected. Per the WA State Fire Code, Section 510.6.2, the Property Owner is required to incorporate changes made to the broadcast system. The broadcast system is the PSERN Project system being built. 

The transition to PSERN will be a massive effort in cooperation with building owners. All current DAS systems are required to be reprogrammed to be PSERN compliant. That means that there are over 700 DAS in the Seattle area that need an update to their system. Full system completion of PSERN is expected in December 2022, but the transition to get building owners with PSERN compliant DAS starts in September 2021. Building owners need to start the process of transition sooner rather than later. It is the best course of action to ensure individual system issues are remedied in a timely fashion and are ready for the switch to PSERN. 

Finding out the extent of changes your DAS system may need sooner will enable building owners to make smarter long-term plans in a situation that could have a potentially hefty financial cost. Also, lead times to get a system prepared for PSERN, given the scale of the change, could take months. Starting the assessment process sooner will empower building owners to take as much control over this transition by planning ahead. 

Building Owner Checklist for PSERN 

To get ready for the radio network shift to PSERN, building owners must ensure their current DAS systems are compatible with PSERN. 

Assessment 

Find out if your BDA system is up to date for PSERN or can easily be reprogrammed to meet the frequency requirements. 

Remediation 

Non-compliant broadband DAS systems or systems that work in frequencies incompatible with PSERN will have to be replaced by professional DAS integrators.  

Rollout of PSERN System 

Once your DAS system have been assessed to PSERN’s requirements, they will have to be reprogrammed to PSERN’s new frequencies. PSERN expects these new systems to be turned on as early as September 2021. 

What to Look for in a DAS Vendor 

We understand that compliance with PSERN is an un-funded mandate.  Building owners may be looking to take the cheapest path to compliance as possible.  But beware, not all DAS integrators are created equal. Hiring a vendor with qualified and experienced DAS technicians, engineers, and experience in the local area will lead to less issues with your transition to PSERN.  Refer to this DAS Vendor Checklist produced by PSERN to see if your integrator is qualified. 

PSERN has a reason to be concerned with who you select as well.  There is an art and science to ensuring radio coverage in a building.  Improperly designed BDA’s will “bleed” coverage beyond the building walls and cause interference with radio networks like PSERN. Providing the exact amount of in-building radio coverage can be achieved by hiring qualified vendors like Day Wireless Systems. 

Day Wireless Systems is a family-owned business founded in 1969, and has grown to be one of the industry leaders for DAS and in-building wireless communication. Our DAS division has a qualified team of experts who focus on doing things right, the first time. Learn more about how we are preparing for PSERN here. 

Day Wireless Special Offer 

Contact us to get a free assessment of your DAS for PSERN compliance. 

You will also receive a special, limited time discount on your DAS annual inspection fee. 

 

 

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