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.

GUIDE 124
GASES - TOXIC and/or CORROSIVE - OXIDIZING

POTENTIAL HAZARDS

HEALTH

  • TOXIC; may be fatal if inhaled or absorbed through skin.
  • Fire will produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases.
  • Contact with gas or liquefied gas may cause burns, severe injury and/or frostbite.
  • Runoff from fire control may cause pollution.

FIRE OR EXPLOSION

  • Substance does not burn but will support combustion.
  • Vapors from liquefied gas are initially heavier than air and spread along ground.
  • These are strong oxidizers and will react vigorously or explosively with many materials including fuels.
  • May ignite combustibles (wood, paper, oil, clothing, etc.).
  • Some will react violently with air, moist air and/or water.
  • Cylinders exposed to fire may vent and release toxic and/or corrosive gas through pressure relief devices.
  • Containers may explode when heated.
  • Ruptured cylinders may rocket.

PUBLIC SAFETY

  • 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.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

  • 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.

EVACUATION

Spill
  • See Table 1 - Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances.
Fire
  • 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.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

FIRE

Small Fire
  • Water only; no dry chemical, CO2 or Halon®.
  • Contain fire and let burn. If fire must be fought, water spray or fog is recommended.
  • Do not get water inside containers.
  • 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.

SPILL OR LEAK

  • Fully encapsulating, vapor protective clothing should be worn for spills and leaks with no fire.
  • Do not touch or walk through spilled material.
  • Keep combustibles (wood, paper, oil, etc.) away from spilled material.
  • Stop leak if you can do it without risk.
  • Use water spray to reduce vapors or divert vapor cloud drift. Avoid allowing water runoff to contact spilled material.
  • Do not direct water at spill or source of leak.
  • If possible, turn leaking containers so that gas escapes rather than liquid.
  • Prevent entry into waterways, sewers, basements or confined areas.
  • Isolate area until gas has dispersed.
  • Ventilate the area.

FIRST AID

  • Move victim to fresh air.
  • Call 911 or emergency medical service.
  • Give artificial respiration if victim is not breathing.
  • Do not use mouth-to-mouth method if victim ingested or inhaled the substance; give artificial respiration with the aid of a pocket mask equipped with a one-way valve or other proper respiratory medical device.
  • Administer oxygen if breathing is difficult.
  • Clothing frozen to the skin should be thawed before being removed.
  • Remove and isolate contaminated clothing and shoes.
  • In case of contact with substance, immediately flush skin or eyes with running water for at least 20 minutes.
  • Keep victim warm and quiet.
  • Keep victim under observation.
  • Effects of contact or inhalation may be delayed.
  • 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

Disclaimer

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.

Citing this page

If you need to cite this page, you can copy this text: