DOT releases new Emergency Response Guidebook

The 2016 ERG provides first responders with a go-to manual to help deal with hazmat transportation incidents during the critical first 30 minutes

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today released the 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG2016), providing first responders with an updated go-to manual to help respond to hazardous materials transportation accidents during the critical first minutes.

PHMSA will distribute more than 1.5 million free copies of the guidebook to firefighters, emergency medical technicians and law enforcement officers across the nation. Emergency first responders will use the ERG2016 to identify specific risks associated with compromised hazardous materials, and the recommended safety measures and procedures they should take to protect themselves and contain the incident as quickly as possible.

"We take the safety of this nation and its emergency responders very seriously," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Our goal is to make sure that these first responders have the most current and accurate safety guidelines possible for use during that initial phase of a hazmat incident."

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 ERG is an invaluable tool during the initial stages of any hazmat transportation emergency. Taking the proper action during those critical first minutes impacts the safety of both the first responders and the people they serve," said PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez.

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.

A copy of the new ERG2016 is posted online.  Print copies of ERG2016 are available for sale to the general public through the U.S. Government Printing Office Bookstore and other commercial suppliers.

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