The nascent Safer Buildings Coalition (SBC) made a big jump forward last month naming an executive director. The group, dedicated to providing advocacy and education related to indoor communication issues, tapped Alan Perdue, a public safety veteran, to lead the organization.
Mike Collado, a spokesman for SOLiD, which co-founded the group, said the coalition was born out of the need for existing and new DAS to be utilized by public safety.
“An independent organization is needed to bring together carriers, building owners and public safety concerning the shared responsibilities of in-building systems as well as who is responsible to fund them,” he said. “Chief Perdue feels very passionate about what we are doing with safer buildings. It is great for a lot of reasons. It provides very focused leadership to carry out the mission of safer buildings by someone who has walked the walk in terms of needing communications in buildings to do his job.”
A credentialed chief fire officer and fire marshal, Perdue currently serves on several state and national committees including Fire and Life Safety Section International Director on the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Board of Directors. He has spent his entire adult life in fire prevention, beginning as a volunteer firefighter when he was 16. He joined Guilford County emergency services when he was 18, and worked for them for 34 years moving up through the ranks to become the EMS director.
“I have seen firsthand the importance of communications when it works and when it fails,” he said. “There are very few districts that are not experiencing problems with in-building communications. It is a serious safety issue for first responders. We can’t help people if they cannot contact us. It starts with the public being able to get a signal so they can use their cell phones to contact 911. Once we are on the scene, we rely on the access nodes for updated information.”
Job number one for Purdue is to solicit memberships from the in-building wireless community and create a board of advisors.
“We are looking for industry partners to come in and help get this message out and get solutions in front of policymakers, building owners and public safety organizations. Those who make the in-building wireless products are also key to being at the table with us,” he said. “The board of advisors will include building owners, as well as active public safety officials, because they are going to be the ones that are on the hook to comply with these codes and in large part fund these in-building projects.”
Key Objectives: Advocacy and Education
SBC will work to ensure that local building ordinances require in-building wireless coverage. “We will look at developing model ordinances so that in a small town, a large city or a county, public safety officials can take those model ordinances forward to their elected officials for adoption,” Perdue said.
The other important component is compliance with those ordinances. “We look to develop tool kits that can be utilized to ensure that what is installed will work properly at the time of need,” Perdue said.