Why Police Radios Not Working in Schools May Lead to Lawsuits

your school could be the victim of a lawsuit if you don't follow laws about emergency responder radio coverage

Ask for the priorities of anyone who works as an educator and you will inevitably hear, “the safety of my students.” Schools, colleges, and universities strive to create an educational environment that is free of danger from within and without. However, if any aspect of providing adequate safety on campus is overlooked, educational institutions could face public outrage like this case in Knoxville, TN, or even lawsuits against the school like this case in Tampa, FL.

In these cases the issue being raised boils down to this: if police, firefighters, and other first responders are unable to communicate with their colleagues when they are inside a campus building in the midst of an emergency scenario, lives are put at risk. The good news is that because this is a common problem on school campuses, telecommunications technology has adapted to help increase radio coverage in schools.

How to Fix Police Radios Not Working on Campus

While some people may think that it’s impossible to transmit radio signals from inside a concrete building, those of us who work in telecommunications (especially distributed antenna system design) know that there are several solutions that could fix this problem. The most common and comprehensive solution for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities is an emergency responder radio communications system (ERRCS). These systems use a series of receivers to route radio signals entering and leaving a building, allowing clear communication between parties inside and out.

ERRCS System

Some Municipalities Have Laws on Emergency Responder Radio Coverage

Many school districts and local governments have requirements that specify emergency responder radio coverage must meet certain standards. There are also International Fire Code (IFC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes that dictate requirements for construction.

Police radios not working in schools could lead to lawsuits

If a school, college, or university is found to be negligent on laws or codes, they could face public pushback or even legal trouble. We can all agree that the safety of students is vitally important. At Harris Communications we believe that everyone should have a clear understanding of the solutions that are available to keep learners and educators safe, as well as the municipal requirements for radio coverage in school buildings.

For full IFC and NFPA code requirements, view our code reference page.