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We describe the development of free-field test methods for wireless electronic safety equipment that replicate field-test conditions in a laboratory environment. The test methods can be used to verify the performance of wireless devices, such as those used by emergency responders, in the presence of known attenuation and under RF interference conditions. The test methods presented here were developed to support the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the revision of NFPA 1982: Standard on Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS), but would be applicable to other types of RF-based equipment as well. In Part 1, we illustrate methods for extracting performance metrics from a series of field tests conducted by NIST researchers. In Part 2, we replicate the key field-test conditions in the laboratory and verify device performance under those conditions.
Date of Publication: Fourth Quarter 2012