(ABC4 NEWS- Salt Lake City) – Imagine you are talking with someone on your cell phone and the call drops. It’s frustrating and inconvenient. But for some people, loosing signal becomes a matter of life and death.

For police and firefighters across the state, losing connection on their radios is one of the worst things that can happen when responding to emergencies.

“That puts us in danger and puts those folks that we’re trying to rescue in even more danger,” explained Don Buckley, Salt Lake County Area Fire Marshal.

First responders are not the only ones with increasing communication concerns. School districts across the country share the same issue.

“Safety is going to be our number one priority,” said Ben Horsley, spokesperson for Granite School District.

School districts are taking the attitude of ‘prepare for the worst, but, hope for the best.’

Horsley continued; “Some of them are a little bit older… They don’t necessarily communicate well,” Horsley said. “We do have some enhanced mechanisms that have been brought into our schools,” he explained.

At Granite School District, officials have installed what they call distributed antenna systems, or DAS.

“DAS boost radio signals inside a structure to ensure that emergency responders have clear transmissions,” said Emergency Services Director for Tooele County Bucky Whitehouse. Designed and installed by Hunt Electric, these life saving systems are uniquely engineered to each specific building.

“We come in, and we can actually recreate the RF environment of that building on software,” said Jared Vance, DAS Manager at Hunt Electric.

Vance says their science-based installation process will not only pinpoint spotty service areas in the building but also penetrate barriers like metal, concrete, and energy-saving window glass.

“Everybody wants to have a green building — they’re trying to prevent the UV rays from coming in. Well, that also blocks our radio transmissions from getting out,” Buckley explained “Hunt deals a lot with being able to know where those dead zones are in the building… and how they can adjust and fix those areas.”

With an emphasis on tools, technology, and training; Hunt Electric is saving lives, one distributed antenna system at a time.

“It makes me feel good… And that’s something, at the end of the day, you can look back and say ‘I participated in this and made something better,'” Vance smiled.

With another Utah Success Story, I’m Doug Jessop.

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