USDOT/PHMSA Releases Call for Comments on 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook

A freight train like this Union Pacific manifest rolling along I-80 in Utah’s Echo Canyon may have a plethora of hazardous materials as part of its lading; so may the truck on the adjacent interstate. An Emergency Response Guidebook can be a vital tool to help emergency responders take proper action if trouble strikes. (©Paul Burgess August 2014; used with permission)

A freight train like this Union Pacific manifest rolling along I-80 in Utah’s Echo Canyon may have a plethora of hazardous materials as part of its lading; so may the truck on the adjacent interstate. An Emergency Response Guidebook can be a vital tool to help emergency responders take proper action if trouble strikes. (©Paul Burgess August 2014; used with permission)

In the September 2nd, 2014 edition of the US Federal Register, the United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published an initial call for comments and suggestions in reference to the upcoming revision and publication of the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG), due out in 2016.

The book is revised and published on an every-fourth-year basis; the current edition was released in 2012. Under (Docket # PHMSA-2014-0099; Notice No. 14-11), the agency proposes to set forth specific procedures and guidelines for the consideration of suggestions from the public to help them improve the next edition.

 


 

2012 Emergency Response Guidebook
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The ERG serves as the primary reference book for the Emergency Response community in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and is commonly found on or in fire apparatus, police and public works vehicles, railway locomotives and highway trucks, and US Coast Guard vessels. It offers substantial information on initial steps to be taken when dealing with a hazardous materials incident, including product identification tips, a UN ID number guide, evacuation zone and firefighting guidance, and disposal information. For many years the little orange book has been the “go-to” reference for nearly everyone that is or that may become involved in a hazardous materials incident involving transportation, manufacturing, warehousing, and many other areas of commerce.  In today’s notice, PHMSA particularly encourages the input of “those who have experience using the ERG.”  Recall that the book is intended as a tool during an emergency—therefore, ease of use, rapidity of understanding, and the appropriateness of the guidance furnished are all vital matters that PHMSA clearly wishes to have feedback from actual users on.  PHMSA indicates that this notice is only the first in what they apparently intend to be an ongoing series of such promptings asking for input; the book itself is still some months away from actual production.  PHMSA indicates that the 2016 edition will be published in English, French, and Spanish.

Here is a link to the Federal Register notice announcing the call for comments:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-02/pdf/2014-20683.pdf

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