Tech Desk 6: What is FDNY’s ARC?

What is FDNY’s ARC?

ARC is an acronym for in-building Auxiliary Radio Communications system. ARC was developed by the New York City Fire Department and is a wireless two-way radio in-building communications system for FDNY use only. The City of New York’s Building Department supported this standard and as of December 31st, 2014, all new construction of high-rise buildings in NYC required ARC systems.  NYC considers a high-rise to be a building structure that is seventy-five (75) feet or more in height.

ARC systems consist of dedicated radio dispatch console in a building’s lobby, base station transceiver, coaxial cable distribution, and antennas.  ARC systems are always off and are enabled by a fire command officer upon arriving at an incident.

Prior to December 31st, 2014, the enhanced, in-building FDNY radio systems were always on and repeater or BDA / booster systems through a network of coaxial cables and antennas.

ARC systems operate between 483 and 487 MHz must be designed to provide FDNY simplex channels 1 through 10, and duplex channel 11 (high-rise in-building repeater) and channel 12 (Battalion Mobile Repeater) in addition to channel 16 (Emergency Notification Frequency).  ARC is for FDNY operations only.

Numerous standards have been set for the design, implementation, acceptance testing, monitoring and alarming, annual and five year certification of ARC systems.  ARC systems must be approved by FDNY personnel with a Certificate of Fitness in fire and building codes. Radio engineering and fire science companies may apply for FDNY Certificates of Fitness; however, core competencies must be demonstrated.