Road Emergency Response Plans: Is everyone on the same page when it comes to responding?

Safety Alert Type: 
Resource Roads
Various roads in the Southern Interior region
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
Various licensees and contractors
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

High volumes of harvesting activities were focused on several specific road systems late this winter (80 -120 loads per day). One road system had three Licensees and seven contractors working on it. Each Licensee and contractor had their own emergency plan but no common or coordinated plan was established for the system.

There were several log haulers from other areas and several new / young drivers working on the system. These drivers were unfamiliar with adjacent crews or contractors as they travelled the road.

A young driver had a minor mishap at the lower end of the road and needed assistance. He was 20 kilometres from his contractor, making communications with them difficult. He knew there were two other contractors closer but didn’t know who they were or how to contact them for help. Due to the high traffic volume those contractors were not monitoring the road channel. If this had been a serious incident requiring rapid first aid and transport, help would likely have been delayed unnecessarily.

During the investigation, it was discovered that some of the logging roads crossed over into another Regional District. BC Ambulance and RCMP could still respond as they are provincial and federal agencies.

If a driver is trapped and extrication (Jaws of Life) is required, usually the local volunteer fire department or other group provides the service. They may not have been authorized to cross over out of their jurisdiction, which has further potential to delay any response. Local responders may not always have vehicles capable of operating on bush roads.

9-1-1 is not always available and may not know these jurisdiction boundaries or equipment limitations.

All three agencies (Ambulance, RCMP and local Volunteer Fire Departments) contacted said they would appreciate being informed of work plans and be included in emergency response planning prior to commencement of operations in any area.

There are several complicating factors to providing an effective and rapid response:

1. Due to recent regulatory rulings, roads are not considered work sites so there are questions regarding who is responsible to coordinate the planning and provide the emergency service.

2. Trucks are usually on the roads well before crews arrive with ETV’s and first aid attendants.

3. Some contractors are concerned about providing a first aid attendant to another unknown company for liability reasons. Some also feel they may have to shut down operations if their first aid equipment and attendant leave the site.

4. Most contractors work on a private channel on their specific work site and don’t monitor the road channel. Not everyone using the road has these private channels.

5. The level of training and type of equipment required for each specific work site as identified in a First Aid Assessment may not be adequate if the road is assessed as a separate work site (eg: 60 truckers versus a logging crew of 5).

Learnings and Suggestions: 

• When multiple contractors and/or Licensees are working on a road system, a coordinated emergency plan with contact information and a list of available resources for all sites should be developed by the Licensee. Contractors should agree that they will respond to any road incident in proximity to their worksite.

• People developing emergency plans for all roads should consult with local emergency response agencies prior to operations commencing to ensure any problems are identified and alternate plans developed. This consultation should take place at least annually or as logging plans change.

• When high volumes of log truck traffic are planned for specific roads, all parties involved should consider providing a dedicated first aid crew and transport vehicle to a level identified by a road specific First Aid Assessment.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information: Doug MacLeod, MacLeod Forest Services Ltd. (250) 499-1075 dmacleod@nethop.net 

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