Using the 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook

Professionals of all kinds will benefit from the Emergency Response Guidebook; here is how to use it and what to look for in the new edition.

The Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) is a valuable tool for multiple professions. While most people know that emergency responders like police officers, EMS professionals, and firefighters will find this book useful, it is also valuable to anyone who handles and transports dangerous goods and hazmat.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the guide, here is a breakdown of what you will find and also what is new in the 2016 edition that ships in May.

The sections are color-coded, and once you familiarize yourself with what each represents, finding what you need will be easy.

Yellow: If all you know is the 4-digit UN number, this is the section you want to consult. Here you’ll use that ID to find the physical name and corresponding guide number for the material.

Blue: Here is where chemicals are listed in alphabetical order by name. You’ll also find the UN number as well as the guide number of the material. Be sure that you match the exact spelling of the chemical as there are numerous chemicals with names that are spelled similarly.

Orange: This is the core of the ERG that the other sections lead to. It holds information on primary hazards and emergency response actions. Consult this section for information regarding spill control, first aid, PPE, fire control, and evacuation distances.

Green: If a chemical in the blue or yellow section is highlighted in green, that means it’s a toxic inhalation material (TIM) and cross-referenced here. These have specific initial isolation distance and protective action distance requirements. Know the location of the hazard because if it’s confined to a building, for example, evacuation distances will be different.

White: This front section holds the specialized information that can be relevant to industry. It includes rail cars, pipeline, trailer ID, and placards information. The back section has information on explosives, boiling liquid expanding vapor explosions, and the glossary.

The new ERG for 2016 comes with some improved features. According to

  • “Expanded Rail Car Identification and Road Trailer Identification charts
  • Added information about Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) markings
  • Expanded Table of Placards
  • Updated pipeline emergency response information
  • Addition of all new dangerous goods/hazardous materials listed in UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods”

For some professionals, having the right equipment and instruments is equally important to having the ERG. Packnet Ltd. has a line of soft wall cases that are perfect for transporting and/or storing medical devices, health and safety products, and electronics/instrumentation. They are custom designed and fabricated, durable, and perfectly engineered to meet your exact handling requirements. Tell us what you need: 952-944-9124.