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Development of Laboratory Test Methods for RF-Based Electronic Safety Equipment: Guide to the NFPA 1982 Standard



Audrey K. Puls, William F. Young, Kate Remley, Jacob L. Healy, Luis A. Gonzalez


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with support from the Department of Homeland Security has been working with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to develop standards and test methods for radio-frequency personal alert safety systems (RF PASS). The RF PASS systems are incorporated into a firefighter's gear and are used to alert a base station when the firefighter is in distress, has been motionless for more than 30 seconds, or to alert the firefighter in case an evacuation is necessary. The material here covers the development of several test methods either already adopted by the NFPA or targeted for future revisions of NFPA 1982 Personal Alert Safety Systems. These test methods represent five RF PASS deployment conditions: a highly reflective (high multipath) RF environment; a prescribed amount of attenuation in a point- to-point communication link; a multi-hop connection path; in-band wireless activity; and temporary exposure to high-power, in-band RF interference. The data and developed testing are based on currently used RF PASS frequencies: 450 MHz, 900 MHz, and 2.4 GHz.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1937
Report Number


Electronic Safety Equipment, Firefighter, Public-safety communications, Wireless system


Puls, A. , Young, W. , Remley, K. , Healy, J. and Gonzalez, L. (2016), Development of Laboratory Test Methods for RF-Based Electronic Safety Equipment: Guide to the NFPA 1982 Standard, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed June 14, 2024)


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Created October 30, 2016, Updated October 12, 2021