Resource Road Radio Channels Bulletin

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Location: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2016-10-26
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

(in conjunction with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada)

Revised resource road radio channel standard protocols have been introduced to BC in the last few years. The objectives have been to standardize and simplify a provincially consistent approach to radio communications in order to improve safety of travel on resource roads.

Most of the province has initiated and implemented new resource road radio communication protocols which consist of simplified and consistent procedures, standardized signage, standardized radio call protocols (including use of “up/down”), and establishing a standard bank of resource road radio (RR) channels.

The introduction of standardized resource road radio protocols has been a collaborative effort including: the FLNRO, ISED (formerly Industry Canada), FPInnovations, WorkSafeBC, BCFSC, forest and resource industry sectors, and other stakeholders.

The standard bank of RR channels has been assigned to FLNRO by ISED, to be managed and administered in conjunction with ISED. FLNRO will be responsible for operational administration, tracking and application of channel assignments in the field.

  • The standard bank of RR channels consists of 35 road channels and 5 loading channels. The road channels are for communicating location and direction when travelling on resource roads. The 5 loading (LD) channels are for communicating on landings and staging areas to avoid congestion of RR channels. In addition to the RR channels, there are the 4 LAD channels which can also be used for communications. Any of the RR channels may be used for emergency communications such as in the case of incidents. Idle chit-chat is to be avoided when using any mobile radio channel or frequency which is intended for safety communications.
  • It is important to note that there are only a relative few roads that are “radio-controlled” where use of a mobile radio is mandatory to communicate location and direction when travelling on a resource road. Most resource roads in the province are “radio-assisted” and there is no requirement to have and use a mobile radio. Additionally, resource roads on Crown Land, with some exceptions, are open to use by the general public that typically do not have mobile radios.
  • Those travelling on radio-assisted resource roads should not rely solely on mobile radio communications, and must drive safely according to road and weather conditions.

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 

Things to bring to your attention: Use the Resource Road radio channels or radio frequencies that are posted in the field. Do not solely rely on channel maps. What is posted in the field will govern over any map. Those using mobile radios for communicating on resource roads must call according to posted channels/frequencies and protocols.

  • Not all resource roads around the province have been converted to the standard set of RR channels; some industrial users are still using pre-existing frequencies; for some roads, RR channels are being adopted as they become industrially active.
  • The RR channels are available to all mobile radio users, and can be obtained through commercial radio shops, provided they have a radio license with the RR Appendix. Radio licenses are issued by ISED.
  • RR channel maps have been developed as planning tools. However, these should not be solely relied upon to determine the appropriate channels in the field; what is on a map may not be posted in the field; mobile radio users should be relying on what is posted on the roads they are traveling on. Link to RR channel planning maps: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hth/engineering/Road_Radio_Project.htm 
  • Programming of select channels into mobile radios (“cherry picking”) of channels is discouraged; all users are encouraged to have the full standard RR channel bank programmed into their radios by commercial radio shops.
  • All resource road users in the affected areas should exercise additional caution during the transition period to new resource road radio communication protocols.
  • A procedure has been developed for permanent and temporary changes to RR channel assignments. All changes require approval by the MFLNRO District Engineering Officer as well as ISED. This is a link to the Channel Change Procedure.
  • RR channel 13 has been removed from service due to conflict with an electronic system in certain Kenworth trucks. RR 13 should not be assigned or used until further notice; if assigned, please move to change the channel following the channel change procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do the new resource road radio (RR) channels affect private radio channels ownership and use?

A: The new RR channels do not impact private channel ownership & use. However, radio channel or frequency use must reflect that posted on the road being used or area being accessed.

Are there channels available for use in addition to the RR channels?

A: Yes, LAD channels can be used as an addition to existing RR loading channels when radio congestion is an issue.

Is the use of old channel/frequencies (i.e. legacy channels/frequencies Appendix 6) allowed?

A: Yes, the use of existing/legacy road radio channels/frequencies should be used where signage indicates. As the transition of the roads within the province to the RR channels will take significant effort & time, the ongoing use of traditional channels/frequencies is anticipated to decrease.

Can an RR channel assigned to a road be changed?

A: Yes. There is a procedure in place which details the required process to change/assign a temporary RR channel. Link: Channel Change Procedure

Additional information and maps on the initiative can be found at: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hth/engineering/Road_Radio_Project.htm

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

MFLNRO District Engineer within your area via Service BC 1-800-663-7867 or the BC Forest Safety Council’s Transportation Safety Program 1-877-741-1060.

File attachments
Safety_Alert_RR_Radio_Channels_Bulletin-BCFSC-2016-10-26.pdf
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