Family Radio Service

What Is Family Radio Service

Industry Canada has introduced the new Family Radio Service, referred to as FRS for short. FRS is a radio frequency assignment, that does not require a license, making it a popular solution for families. There are many makes and models of radios available from single channel to 14 channel.

Why Is FRS Important To Emergency Communications

Family Radio Service is important for emergency communications for two reasons; 1) To provide communications for emergency response and 2) To provide communications with people affected by the emergency.

FRS does provide some possibilities for short range emergency communications. This may be to communicate between rooms in an EOC, track people at an emergency site, etc., without tying up other more powerful communications bands and frequencies.

If you are providing emergency communications, you should be prepared to talk anyone who might have a radio. Common radios owned by the general public, are CB, Marine and now Family Radio Service. If people own FRS radios, they will turn to these radios for communications in an emergency. It is important to know the frequencies, so you can monitor activity on the FRS frequencies.

While there are restrictions on transmission of signals on FRS, there is nothing to stop you from listening with any radio capable of receiving the assigned frequencies. This also allows the use of high gain external antennas, allowing greater possibility of hearing someone if they call.

For transmission, you will need a radio designed for FRS use. Not everyone will need an FRS radio, but it is a good idea to have a few available if required. One problem, is the lack of knowledge that the general public will have about the radios. In an emergency, you can listen without any CTCSS, so you can hear everyone, however the person in trouble may have CTCSS enabled, so they will only hear you if you have the matching tone.

Details About FRS

There are rules about what can and cannot be done with an FRS radio. The key requirements are:

There are 14 possible channels available for FRS. Most newer radios have added CTCSS to allow up to 38 tones per channel to help weed out unwanted signals. Some radios have only one channel, which is channel 1. This is important to remember if you are monitoring for emergency reasons.

Frequency (MHz) and the FRS Channel Number

462.5625 (1) 467.5625 (8)
462.5875 (2) 467.5875 (9)
462.6125 (3) 467.6125 (10)
462.6375 (4) 467.6375 (11)
462.6625 (5) 467.6625 (12)
462.6875 (6) 467.6875 (13)
462.7125 (7) 467.7125 (14)

Channel Spacing: 25 kHz