DAS Solutions Improve Congregation Safety

February 19th, 2023

DAS Solutions Improve Congregation Safety

Churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques should be places of gathering and peace. However, in the United States, there is a startling history of houses of worship often being targets of hate crimes.

In 2022 alone, there have been a number of church shootings. Just recently a massive planned attack on a synagogue in New York City was thwarted only at the last minute by an analyst who spotted chilling messages on social media.

Developers now routinely install security systems within the large corporate and retail spaces they build and manage. Religious leaders who shepherd their buildings and congregations may not realize the importance of keeping surveillance, security, and communications up-to-date, if they have them at all. Merely securing buildings to keep intruders out isn’t enough; there must be reliable communications for those within the buildings and those arriving on scene – especially in the event of an incident.

“It Can’t Happen Here” Is No Longer True

Houses of worship often have long and storied histories dating back many generations. The oldest church in the United States was built in 1610, and there are numerous churches from that century still operating today. These churches, as well as the synagogues, mosques, and temples that have come after them, have seen generations of people pass through their doors, all expecting to find a safe, sacred place of contemplation and refuge. However, any house of worship built more than a single generation ago likely does not have security measures other than locked doors and windows. 

As horrific crimes targeting houses of worship continue to increase, religious community leaders must move to protect their congregations. Deploying security and surveillance equipment is vital, but so is ensuring that first responders are able to communicate with one another and with those seeking help in life-threatening moments.

DAS Ensures Reliable Communication for First Responders

A Distributed Antenna System (DAS) that boosts emergency responder radio coverage (ERRC) dramatically improves building safety by amplifying strong cellular and radio signals throughout any building. They specifically target the 700-800 MHz frequency range dedicated to first responder communications and also amplifies coverage of major public networks. Boosting both is crucial, especially in megachurches or other religious centers that can hold hundreds to thousands of worshippers at a single time. This prevents network congestion when minutes or even seconds can mean the difference between life or death.

Churches with large congregations and buildings (more than 50,000 square feet) should strongly consider Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS). Cellular and radio signals should be tested throughout the entire infrastructure, including areas that may be used for escape or hiding, such as coat and storage closets, stairwells, basements, elevators, attics, and rooftops.  Such testing ensures that cellular phones and two-way radios will stay connected.

If congregants can make and receive calls during a time of crisis, and if first responders are able to communicate with each other rapidly, houses of worship will then provide a crucial extra layer of protection if the unthinkable happens. Preparation is the best strategy.