Standards Matter
July 25, 2022

Standards Help Emergency Responders Effectively Communicate

First responders using emergency communication systems

Why It Matters

In emergency situations, responders have a myriad of tools to address critical life-safety needs, and perhaps the most important of these needs is effective communication. Responders must communicate efficiently with building occupants as well as fellow responders. In an increasingly complex built environment, effective and reliable communication can be difficult. For example, many factors such as building materials or electromagnetic noise from other devices can interfere with the performance of emergency responder radios. Additionally, it is critical for responders to be in communication with one another when performing rescue and firefighting operations.

To address the need for reliable communication systems, UL Standards & Engagement published UL 2524, the Standard for Emergency Responder Communication Enhancement Systems.

What We’re Doing

UL 2524 provides performance and functionality requirements for critical, in-building radio communication enhancement products that, in combination, form a complete system for emergency responder communication inside and outside of buildings. Because of the complexity of building construction, setup, and a multitude of other factors, radio communication systems can often be disrupted, and effective communication can be compromised. However, UL 2524 provides performance requirements to help ensure reliability for these systems. 

One such example is through automatic monitoring for integrity. The Standard requires that an audible and visual trouble annunciation is sent to the dedicated annunciator when certain conditions are met, such as loss of normal AC power, battery charger failure, loss of batter capacity (to 70% depletion), donor antenna disconnection, or active RF emitting device malfunction. Under these requirements, the audible and visual annunciation must occur within 200 seconds of the fault or within 24 hours of the fault. This type of monitoring helps ensure that faulty equipment is replaced so that systems will be ready to perform when needed.

Additional tests for reliability include the Variable Voltage Operation Test, Variable Ambient Temperature and Humidity Tests, Component Temperatures Test, Charging Current Test, and Transient Tests. 

How You Can Help

Our Standards are developed through a consensus-based process, which integrates scientific and testing expertise with input from our Technical Committee (TC) members and stakeholders. TC members represent a variety of interests, including industry, academia, government, retail, and manufacturing. If you are involved in the design, construction, sale, instruction or use of in-building radio communication enhancement products, and you would like to help improve safety in your industry, please take a moment to learn how you can get involved.