The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has released the 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook (known as ERG2016), which is an updated manual to help first responders dealing with the initial stages of hazardous materials transportation accidents.
PHMSA will distribute more than 1.5 million free copies of the guidebook to firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and law enforcement officers nationwide — the goal is to have one in every public service vehicle across the country.
Responders will use the ERG2016 to identify specific risks associated with compromised hazmats and the recommended safety measures and procedures they should take to protect themselves and contain the incident as fast as possible.
Nearly 14.5 million free copies of the ERG have been distributed to the emergency response community through state emergency management coordinators.
The ERG contains an indexed list of dangerous goods and the associated 4-digit United Nations identification numbers. The ERG also identifies the general hazards those dangerous goods pose and recommends safety precautions in remediating a hazmat incident.
For example, if emergency first responders arrive at the scene of an overturned tractor trailer displaying a USDOT hazardous material placard, they would use the guidebook to identify the material associated with the placard and how best to respond.
The 2016 version of the ERG includes general revisions, expanded sections and added guide pages for absorbed gases. Updated every four years as a collaborative effort of the USDOT, Transport Canada and Mexico’s Secretariat of Transport and Communications, the ERG2016 is available free to public safety agencies in all states, territories, and Native American Tribes through designated state emergency management coordinators’ offices.
PHMSA has also partnered with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to provide a free Smartphone version of the ERG2016. NLM also develops and distributes the Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders. The mobile application will be available this spring.
Jules Griggs, Safety Unlimited, Inc. CEO and Training Director says: “The ERG gets better with each new release. The 2016 version even has areas for people to enter local emergency phone numbers. And installing the App on your smartphone allows you to have it with you at all times. Still, it is shocking to me how many people still try to use older versions which is a huge mistake.”