We analyze data from NIST field tests in which radio-propagation channel path loss values were measured at approximately the same physical locations where the performance of various RF-based firefighter distress beacons were tested. These side-by-side tests were made in two key representative emergency responder environments, a New York subway station and the Empire State Building. These environments contain propagation features that may impair radio communications, including stairwells, tunnels, and rooms deep within buildings, among others. The goal of this work is to determine appropriate performance metrics for use in the development of laboratory-based test methods for RF-based electronic safety equipment. The analysis supports the classification of structures into categories of attenuation values that can be used in laboratory-based test methods to verify the performance of the RF-based alarm systems. The environments, tests, and measured data are discussed in detail. The RF propagation-channel data also provide insight into the expected attenuation in high-rise buildings and below-ground structures.