ARLINGTON, Va. --- Chairman Jay Fisette and Arlington’s public safety chiefs today presented Monday Properties (for 1812 N. Moore Street) and Penzance (for 3001/3003 Washington Blvd.) with the County’s first certifications for First Responder Network -- public safety operable communications -- within a commercial building. Fire Chief James Schwartz, Deputy Police Chief Dan Murray, Office of Emergency Management Director Jack Brown, and Chief Deputy Sheriff Paul Larson presented the certification plaques to Timothy Helmig from Monday Properties and Victor Tolkin from Penzance during today’s Recessed County Board Meeting.
“Safety must be of the highest priority in every community,” said Arlington County Manager Barbara M. Donnellan. “We applaud Monday Properties, Penzance, and all of our forward-thinking developers who have embraced this critical new safety standard.”
The installation of the First Responder Network enables public safety officials – including fire, rescue, and police – to communicate within the building during any emergency. Monday Properties, Penzance, JBG, and BF Saul have all agreed to use the new voluntary standard in the construction of buildings approved late last year by the County Board.
In recent years, new construction materials have degraded the ability of public safety personnel to communicate with radios within buildings. In addition, new video and digital data transmissions are not handled as well by prior technology solutions.
The problem of spotty communications affects many jurisdictions, including those with and without tall buildings. Even two-story commercial buildings (with and without parking garages) are affected by this problem. Arlington is installing First Responder Network systems (in-building wireless technology) in new and renovated County construction, including the new Arlington Mill Community Center. Arlington staff has worked with many developers to draft a performance-based standard for all new construction.
In October, 2013, the Arlington County Board adopted a resolution to promote public safety technology in construction within Arlington County. While the resolution is not binding, Arlington County officials hope that developers and builders will understand the benefits of the First Responder Network to improving safety in their buildings and will install the new technology.
Virginia has chosen not to adopt standards within the Code that would enable emergency responders to communicate within buildings. Arlington County officials are working closely with colleagues across the Commonwealth, in the building community, and within public safety to improve the requirements in the building code.
The First Responder Network initiative is supported by numerous Arlington County departments, including Fire, Police, Sheriff, Emergency Management, Technology Services, Community Planning, Housing and Development.
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world -- including the Pentagon -- Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.