Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG)

This is an online version of the 2008 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) which is produced by the USDOT for first responders during the initial phase of a Dangerous goods/Hazardous Materials incident. Have you ever wondered what those four digit numbers on the placards on the side of trucks and rail cars mean? Our online ERG will give you your answer.

GASES - OXIDIZING (Including Refrigerated Liquids)



  • Substance does not burn but will support combustion.
  • Some may react explosively with fuels.
  • May ignite combustibles (wood, paper, oil, clothing, etc.).
  • Vapors from liquefied gas are initially heavier than air and spread along ground.
  • Runoff may create fire or explosion hazard.
  • Containers may explode when heated.
  • Ruptured cylinders may rocket.


  • Vapors may cause dizziness or asphyxiation without warning.
  • Contact with gas or liquefied gas may cause burns, severe injury and/or frostbite.
  • Fire may produce irritating and/or toxic gases.


  • CALL Emergency Response Telephone Number on Shipping Paper first. If Shipping Paper not available or no answer, refer to appropriate telephone number listed on the inside back cover.
  • As an immediate precautionary measure, isolate spill or leak area for at least 100 meters (330 feet) in all directions.
  • Keep unauthorized personnel away.
  • Stay upwind.
  • Many gases are heavier than air and will spread along ground and collect in low or confined areas (sewers, basements, tanks).
  • Keep out of low areas.
  • Ventilate closed spaces before entering.


  • Wear positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
  • Wear chemical protective clothing that is specifically recommended by the manufacturer. It may provide little or no thermal protection.
  • Structural firefighters' protective clothing provides limited protection in fire situations ONLY; it is not effective in spill situations where direct contact with the substance is possible.
  • Always wear thermal protective clothing when handling refrigerated/cryogenic liquids.


Large Spill
  • Consider initial downwind evacuation for at least 500 meters (1/3 mile).
  • If tank, rail car or tank truck is involved in a fire, ISOLATE for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions; also, consider initial evacuation for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions.



  • Use extinguishing agent suitable for type of surrounding fire.
Small Fire
  • Dry chemical or CO2.
Large Fire
  • Water spray, fog or regular foam.
  • Move containers from fire area if you can do it without risk.
  • Damaged cylinders should be handled only by specialists.
Fire involving Tanks
  • Fight fire from maximum distance or use unmanned hose holders or monitor nozzles.
  • Cool containers with flooding quantities of water until well after fire is out.
  • Do not direct water at source of leak or safety devices; icing may occur.
  • Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety devices or discoloration of tank.
  • ALWAYS stay away from tanks engulfed in fire.
  • For massive fire, use unmanned hose holders or monitor nozzles; if this is impossible, withdraw from area and let fire burn.


  • Keep combustibles (wood, paper, oil, etc.) away from spilled material.
  • Do not touch or walk through spilled material.
  • Stop leak if you can do it without risk.
  • If possible, turn leaking containers so that gas escapes rather than liquid.
  • Do not direct water at spill or source of leak.
  • Use water spray to reduce vapors or divert vapor cloud drift. Avoid allowing water runoff to contact spilled material.
  • Prevent entry into waterways, sewers, basements or confined areas.
  • Allow substance to evaporate.
  • Isolate area until gas has dispersed.
CAUTION: When in contact with refrigerated/cryogenic liquids, many materials become brittle and are likely to break without warning.


  • Move victim to fresh air.
  • Call 911 or emergency medical service.
  • Give artificial respiration if victim is not breathing.
  • Administer oxygen if breathing is difficult.
  • Remove and isolate contaminated clothing and shoes.
  • Clothing frozen to the skin should be thawed before being removed.
  • In case of contact with liquefied gas, thaw frosted parts with lukewarm water.
  • Keep victim warm and quiet.
  • Ensure that medical personnel are aware of the material(s) involved and take precautions to protect themselves.

Data Source for our online 2008 ERG

This information was compiled from the 2008 Emergency Response Guidebook (2008 ERG) which is produced by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

(Data last updated/verified: Oct. 2, 2011)

Related Resources


WARNING: These pages are for general reference and educational purposes only and MUST NOT be relied upon as a sole source to determine regulatory compliance or where matters of life and health are concerned. This site and the author do not warrant or guarantee the accuracy or the sufficiency of the information provided and do not assume any responsibility for its use.

To ensure regulatory compliance when transporting hazardous materials or dangerous goods, one must receive proper training and certification from a qualified instructor and refer to the current year's Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 (49CFR) or your country's shipping regulations. In matters regarding workplace safety, refer to current OSHA regulations (29CFR) and NIOSH guidelines or your own country's health and safety regulations. No one should ever enter into a hazardous environment without proper training from qualified instructors.

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