Two years ago my wife and I vacationed in Turkey and found the history, people, and sites a fascinating experience. To this day, I’ll tell people to add “Balloon Ride in Cappadocia” to their bucket list because it was the most exhilarating experience I’ve had on this planet. (Google it!)
Regulation Violations in Turkey
The recent earthquake in Turkey in which 40+ thousand people died is certainly a tragedy. For those of us in the Emergency Responder Radio Communications Business (ERRCS) and our end-user customers, one takeaway is building codes matter.
Unfortunately, over the course of years, the Turkish government had granted periodic “construction amnesties” – effectively legal exemptions for the payment of a fee, for structures built without the required safety certificates. The BBC issued a report in 2020 that suggested that in 2018 more than 50% of buildings in Turkey – equivalent to almost 13 million buildings – were constructed in violation of regulations.
Many of us who live in California have experienced an earthquake – not as large as the 7.8 magnitude recently in Turkey, but large enough to rattle your house. As the California Department of Preservation notes on their website: “Each year, California generally gets two or three earthquakes large enough to cause moderate damage to structures (magnitude 5.5 and higher).”
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, over the next 30 years in the Bay Area, there is a 72% chance of a 6.7 magnitude earthquake, a 51% chance of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, and a 20% chance of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake.
Importance of ERRCS in Buildings
To add to the concern, a recent San Francisco Chronicle story’s headline read: “About 3,900 San Francisco buildings are made in the same way as Turkish ones flattened in the earthquake”. It went on to quote a structural engineer who has worked in the Bay Area for decades. He said: “There should not be the kind of reaction that there has been over the last week of ‘Well, (Turkey is) a developing country, we have better codes, we have better construction practices, we could never get an earthquake that large.’ None of that is true. We have all of the same issues that they have there.”
So given the odds of a Bay Area earthquake, it will hopefully be a functioning ERRCS in some buildings that will aid in the response. In other locations, it will continue to assist First Responders in the inevitable periodic fire or police emergencies.
First Responder Radios Should Work in Every Building
The ERRCS business is still in its infancy. It’s still catching up to its older brothers, the Fire Alarm and Sprinkler business. Some of its challenges, at least in the US, are a by-product of the disparate and decentralized nature of our public safety radio systems. This plays out in varying state and local codes, frequencies, and stakeholders; varying test, design and install processes; and varying monitoring, maintenance, and inspection requirements.
Despite these challenges, it is a business that should and will continue to grow. Citizens not only expect their cell phones to work everywhere (even though it is still technically an “amenity “and not required by code) but would clearly believe (if asked) that First Responder radios should reliably work in every building.
What’s the point of calling 911 if the First Responders who show up can’t communicate?
Get in touch with us today to learn more about ERRCS Codes for your building. You can contact us by filling out the contact form on our website.