Federal pipeline and hazmat regulators have released the 2012 version of their Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG), providing first responders with a newly revised go-to manual to help address hazmat accidents during the critical first 30 minutes.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration will distribute more than two million copies of the guidebook to firefighters, emergency medical technicians and law enforcement officers nationwide.
|Federal pipeline regulators have turned up their safety efforts since catastrophic explosions in California and Pennsylvania neighborhoods in the last two years.|
The guide is also available free to public safety agencies in all states and territories through designated state coordinators’ offices.
Responders will use the guide to identify specific risks associated with compromised hazmat items, measures they should take to protect themselves, and procedures for containing the incident as quickly and safely as possible.
The guide is updated every four years.
“We take the safety of this nation and its emergency responders very seriously,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Our goal is to make sure that these critical responders have the most current information possible.”
Indexed Hazards and Responses
The guide contains an indexed list of dangerous goods and the associated ID number, the general hazards they pose, and recommended safety precautions.
For example, if emergency responders arrive at the scene of an overturned tractor-trailer displaying a DOT hazmat placard, they would use the guide to identify the material associated with the placard and how to respond accordingly.
The 2012 edition of the guide includes general revisions, reorganized general information pages, and new tables such as Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances for large spills involving six common toxic inhalation hazard gases.
‘Critical First Minutes’
“The ERG is an invaluable tool that provides emergency responders with critical information and guidance during the initial stages of a hazmat emergency,” said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman.
“Taking the proper action during those critical first minutes has a huge impact on the safety of both first responders and the people they serve.”
Print copies of the guide are available for sale to the general public through the U.S. Government Printing Office Bookstore.
PHMSA has also partnered with the National Library of Medicine to provide a free Smartphone version of the guide in its Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders. The mobile version will be available this summer.
Part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, PHMSA oversees the nation’s 2.5 million-mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.