Commonly Asked Questions About Auxiliary Radio Communication Systems

The New York City Fire Code mandates that high-rise buildings have an auxiliary radio communication system, or ARCS. With the NYC Fire Code changing every couple of years, it can be hard to keep up with all aspects of the code. In this deep dive, we will answer the most commonly asked questions about ARCS and how you or your business can stay compliant.

What is an auxiliary radio communication system, or ARCS? 

An ARCS is a two-way emergency radio network that may be installed throughout a building to communicate with the Fire Department in the event of a fire or other emergency. 

What is an auxiliary radio communication system, or ARCS made of?

An ARCS has many parts, usually including a base station, an antenna network, and a radio console. The base station receives and conducts radio signals throughout a building. Antenna networks are carefully designed to ensure the quality of radio signals, and lastly, a radio console. This radio console, or main communication system is most frequently placed in the lobby or main area of a building.

Does my building need one an ARCS?

If your building is a newly constructed, high-rise building, ARCS installation is required. Additionally, all buildings over 75 feet tall are designated by the NYC Fire Code to implement an ARCS.

Who can install an ARCS?

Only companies with master electrician qualifications are permitted to install auxiliary radio communications systems. At American Security, we have a team of experienced professionals that are qualified to install ARCS.

We’ve installed an ARCS— what now?

After installing your ARCS, it must get certified by passing two inspections. Your ARCS must be inspected to ensure your newly installed system passes both a Commissioning Test as well as an FDNY Acceptance test.

Once your ARCS has passed all necessary inspections, maintenance is important to ensure your system will last a long time, but more importantly, will work properly in an emergency situation.

Does my ARCS only need to be certified once?

No. NYC Fire Code states that ARCS must be inspected annually and re-certified completely every 5 years. 

What if there’s a power outage?

Your auxiliary radio communication system works even when the power is down. You may use it to communicate with the Fire Department with or without power.

In summary, the installation of an ARCS keeps your buildings safe and compliant. While it may seem like a hassle to keep up with the maintenance of these systems and follow NYC Fire Code, many businesses find it helpful to enlist the support of security companies to design, install, and maintain the auxiliary radio communication systems your business or building may require.

Need help staying NYC Fire Code compliant?  Click here to talk to one of our experts to learn more!

At American Security, we believe in keeping you, your property, and your family safe at every level. We are proud to be the New York area’s top choice for multi-tiered security since 1979. Give us a call today to speak with an expert and experience the American Security difference. Visit our website at or contact us to learn more about our solutions today.