ETA Expands Public Safety DAS Certification Program

ETA® International has been certifying two-way radio technicians for over 30 years. As the leading authority for mission critical communications and fiber optics certifications, ETA will expand its Distributed Antenna System (DAS) certification program to consist of four levels that will meet the needs of DAS code enforcement officials, end users (occupants and first responders), and building owners. Multiple-disciplinary DAS certifications are necessary to ensure that all fire marshals and building officials are qualified to inspect public safety DAS and that installers, technicians, and designers are qualified to work with these critical life-saving systems for the well-being of all people who enter these buildings.

Greencastle, March 26, 2020: ETA® International’s current Distributed Antenna System (DAS) certification, originally released in 2013, will become all-inclusive in order to cover public safety two-way radio FCC rules, along with fire and building code compliance as well as user needs, system design, component selection, component integration, installation, optimization, testing, and maintenance. The expanded ETA public safety DAS certification program will now cover the material required of professionals whose work can affect millions of people where their safety is at risk, along with the hundreds of thousands of first responders who also depend upon these systems to work correctly.

Improper design, installation, and commissioning will result in harmful interference or even tragic loss of lives. The FCC will levy major fines if these DAS cause harmful interference per 47CFR90.219. Current building codes require all new and retro-fitted buildings to be energy efficient, but these efficiencies can severely disrupt radio frequency communications. All buildings are required to have a DAS capable of providing public safety personnel (police, fire, and emergency medical responders) with reliable communications between themselves and their dispatchers and other officials.

The current ETA DAS certification will be expanded into four separate disciplines that will include:

  1. DAS – Installer
  2. DAS – Technician
  3. DAS – Designer
  4. DAS – Code Compliance

The DAS Installer (DASI) certification will include all items pertaining to the basics of a DAS, components, interconnection of the components, RF cabling, fiber optic cabling, Ethernet cabling, alarm cabling, power installation and cabling, antennas, and the testing of the individual components within a DAS. There is not a pre-requisite for the DASI; however, earning the ETA General Communications Technician - Level 1 (GCT1) certification would better prepare professionals to understand DAS technology and help make the DASI certification more attainable.

The DAS Technician (DAST) certification will include all areas of the DASI, along with fire and building code compliance, design overview, installation, optimization, testing, maintenance, and FCC rules and regulations. The pre-requisite for the DAST will include successfully passing the General Communications Technician - Level 2 (GCT2), RF Interference and Mitigation (RFIM), and Line and Antenna Sweep (LAS) certifications. Each of these four combined ETA certifications include additional material specific to Public Safety DAS and will produce competent DAS technicians for the industry.

The DAS Designer (DASD) certification will include RF signal levels, antenna placement and selection, component selection, link budgets, blueprint standards, FCC rules and regulations for DAS, and interconnection to other systems, which include fire alarm monitoring points. The methodology on how to create a complete design package to comply with most codes of authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) - such as a fire marshal or building code compliance officer - will also be covered along with power requirements, fire protection code requirements, space selection, heating and air conditioning requirements, coupler and splitter selection, active component selection, cable selection, installation details, writing specifications and method-of-procedures, conducting and writing factory acceptance tests, writing maintenance procedures, and the interfacing of the DAS to the building fire alarm systems. The pre-requisite for the DASD will be a DAST.

The DAS Code Compliance (DASC) certification will include all areas of a DAS that the code compliance officer will need to know to ensure that the DAS they are inspecting meets or exceeds the rules the AHJ has deemed required for a DAS. The training required for this level of certification will include what is needed to approve the system design as spelled out in the International Fire Code (IFC) Section 510 Emergency Responder Radio Coverage (ERRC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1221 codes, and what is needed to look for specifically to ensure that the DAS is meeting the standard for the AHJ, DAS basics, how to recognize a system design, and FCC rules and regulations for DAS. Since the NFPA and IFC codes require the AHJ to approve all DAS designs before the installation can begin, it is suggested that at least one individual from each AHJ also earn the DASD certification.

About ETA - Since 1978, ETA® International has delivered over 250,000 certification examinations. Widely recognized and frequently used in worker job selection, hiring processes, pay increases, and advancements, ETA certifications are often required as companies bid on contracts. ETA’s certifications are personal and travel with the individual, regardless of employment or status change and measure competencies of persons, not products or vendors. All ETA certifications are accredited through the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC) and align with the ISO-17024 standard. .

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