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The Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG, last revised in 2016) was developed jointly by the US Department of Transportation, Transport Canada, and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of Mexico (SCT) for use by firefighters, police, and other emergency services personnel who may be the first to arrive at the scene of a transportation incident involving a hazardous material. It is primarily a guide to aid first responders in (1) quickly identifying the specific or generic classification of the material(s) involved in the incident, and (2) protecting themselves and the general public during this initial response phase of the incident. The ERG is updated every three to four years to accommodate new products and technology. The next version is scheduled for 2004.
DOT's goal is to place one ERG2016 in each emergency service vehicle, nationwide, through distribution to state and local public safety authorities. To date, more than seven million copies have been distributed without charge to the emergency responder community. Copies are made available free of charge to public emergency responders through the state coordinator (U.S. only) nearest you. In Canada, contact CANUTEC at 613-992-4624 or via Internet at [email protected] for information. In Mexico, call SCT at 52-5-684-1275. Copies are also available commercially through the GPO Bookstores and other commercial vendors.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has developed a free, mobile web app of its Emergency Response Guidebook 2016 (ERG). The new safety tool provides the nation's emergency responders with fast, easily accessible information to help them manage hazardous material incidents. This software is available from the Apple iTunes store for iPhone, and from the Google Play website for Android.
Hazardous Materials Training Program
U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
RSPA welcomes constructive comments for improvements to the ERG2000. Comments should be sent either by
, or in writing to the Office of Hazardous Materials Initiatives and Training, DHM-50, Research and Special Programs Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 7th St., S.W., Washington, DC 20590.
The Table of Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances suggests distances useful to protect people from vapors resulting from spills involving dangerous goods which are considered poisonous/toxic by inhalation (TIH). The Table provides first responders with initial guidance until technically qualified emergency response personnel are available. Distances show areas likely to be affected during the first 30 minutes after materials are spilled and could increase with time.
Protective Actions are those steps taken to preserve the health and safety of emergency responders and the public during an
incident involving releases of dangerous goods. Table 1 - Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances (green-bordered pages) predicts the size
of downwind areas which could be affected by a cloud of toxic gas. People in this area should be evacuated and/or sheltered in-place inside
buildings. Isolate Hazard Area and Deny Entry means to keep everybody away from the area if they are not directly involved in emergency response
operations. Unprotected emergency responders should not be allowed to enter the isolation zone. This “isolation” task is done first to establish
control over the area of operations. This is the first step for any protective actions that may follow. See Table 1 - Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances (green-bordered pages) for more detailed information on specific materials.
Evacuate means to move all people from a threatened area to a safer place. To perform an evacuation, there must be enough time for people to be warned, to get ready, and to leave an area. If there is enough time, evacuation is the best protective action. Begin evacuating people nearby and those outdoors in direct view of the scene. When additional help arrives, expand the area to be evacuated downwind and crosswind to at least the extent recommended in this guidebook. Even after people move to the distances recommended, they may not be completely safe from harm. They should not be permitted to congregate at such distances. Send evacuees to a definite place, by a specific route, far enough away so they will not have to be moved again if the wind shifts.
Shelter In-Place means people should seek shelter inside a building and remain inside until the danger passes. Sheltering in-place is used when evacuating the public would cause greater risk than staying where they are, or when an evacuation cannot be performed. Direct the people inside to close all doors and windows and to shut off all ventilating, heating and cooling systems. In-place protection (shelter in-place) may not be the best option if (a) the vapors are flammable; (b) if it will take a long time for the gas to clear the area; or (c) if buildings cannot be closed tightly. Vehicles can offer some protection for a short period if the windows are closed and the ventilating systems are shut off. Vehicles are not as effective as buildings for in-place protection. It is vital to maintain communications with competent persons inside the building so that they are advised about changing conditions. Persons protected-in-place should be warned to stay far from windows because of the danger from glass and projected metal fragments in a fire and/or explosion.
Every dangerous goods incident is different. Each will have special problems and concerns.
Action to protect the public must be selected carefully. These pages can help with initial decisions on how to protect the public. Officials must continue to gather information and monitor the situation until the threat is removed.NOTE: This is an Adobe .pdf file (i.e., a file that allows you to view/print the document in its original format ). In order to view it, you must have Adobe Reader properly configured with your browser. You may download this software FREE from Adobe's Web site. For best viewing results, change Adobe Reader's view setting to "Fit Visible".
EMERGENCY RESPONSE TELEPHONE NUMBERS CANADA 1. CANUTEC, provides a 24 hour national bilingual (French and English) emergency response advisory service: 1-888-CANUTEC (226-8832) or 613-996-6666* *666 (STAR 666) cellular (in Canada only) UNITED STATES 1. CHEMTREC®, a 24 hour emergency response communication service: 1-800-424-9300 * (Toll-free in the U.S., Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands) 703-527-3887 For calls originating elsewhere 2. CHEMTEL, INC., a 24 hour emergency response communication service: 1-888-255-3924 * (Toll-free in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) 813-248-0585 For calls originating elsewhere 3. INFOTRAC, a 24 hour emergency response communication service: 1-800-535-5053 * (Toll-free in the U.S., Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands) 352-323-3500 For calls originating elsewhere 4. 3E COMPANY, a 24 hour emergency response communication service: 1-800-451-8346 * (Toll-free in the U.S., Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands) 760-602-8703 For calls originating elsewhere The emergency response information services shown above have requested to be listed as providers of emergency response information and have agreed to provide emergency response information to all callers. They maintain periodically updated lists of state and Federal radiation authorities who provide information and technical assistance on handling incidents involving radioactive materials. 5. MILITARY SHIPMENTS, for assistance at incidents involving materials being shipped by, for, or to the Department of Defense (DOD), call one of the following numbers (24 hours): 703-697-0218 * - Explosives/ammunition incidents (U.S. Army Operations Center) 1-800-851-8061 (Toll-free in the U.S.) - All other dangerous goods incidents (Defense Logistics Agency) 6. NATIONWIDE POISON CONTROL CENTER (United States only) 1-800-222-1222 (Toll-free in the U.S.)