From the Chief’s Corner: Knowledge and Competence Solves Problems...

Chief Alan Perdue

By Chief Alan Perdue (ret.), SBC Executive Director

Posted on April 27, 2023

During my travels across the US and Canada, people often ask me why some Emergency Responder Communications Enhancement Systems (ERCES) stakeholders don’t have a better understanding of what is required. My initial response: You must realize that for most people, “you only know what you know.”

To break that down, let’s look at the definition of knowledge: facts, information and skills acquired by an individual through experience and education. In other words, if one has not been exposed to something by education or experience, one may simply not possess knowledge about a given topic. Now, lacking knowledge is not necessarily the end of the world; rather one can see it as an opportunity.

How quickly one grasps onto that opportunity to learn something new may vary depending on the subject. However, when the importance of that knowledge is related to the design, installation and maintenance of fire and life safety systems or, more specifically: ERCES, the when is now, and the learning curve is usually steep and continuous. As Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a co-founder of the nation’s first volunteer fire companies in 1736 once said; “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

But what does that "investment in knowledge" mean to the ERCES stakeholders? 

The answer to that question is multifaceted:

  1. Having the desire to be competent, a desire to want everything they do to be professional and correct.
  2. Having the commitment to do what it takes to gain knowledge and experience.
  3. Understanding that investing in knowledge is not a one-and-done process; it’s a journey that continues through to the end of your time working in a particular field of study.
  4. Lastly, but most importantly, it is about giving back and helping others along the way, which you will find helps you refine your skills even more. 

So, where do you start learning what you don’t know about ERCES? The answer is simple: You get yourself a copy of a new book titled “Complete ERCES Handbook” from the Safer Buildings Coalition. The Complete ERCES Handbook is the most comprehensive deep dive into the world of ERCES ever produced. 

This important book shares the insight of a multitude of subject matter experts, whose knowledge will help elevate the reader's understanding and overall competency, regardless of which area of an ERCES deployment they are involved in.

System designers, integrators, regulators, building owners, frequency license holders, testing companies, et al will all find that the information within this resource will help them achieve a better understanding of what is needed and why it is important that each and every aspect of and ERCES must be done correctly the first time and every time -- because someone’s life may depend on it. 

As Theodore Roosevelt once said: “Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” #feelsafeinside

To order your copy of the “Complete ERCES Handbook” visit

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