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.

FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS (Non-Polar / Water-Immiscible / Noxious)



  • HIGHLY FLAMMABLE: Will be easily ignited by heat, sparks or flames.
  • Vapors may form explosive mixtures with air.
  • Vapors may travel to source of ignition and flash back.
  • Most vapors are heavier than air. They will spread along ground and collect in low or confined areas (sewers, basements, tanks).
  • Vapor explosion hazard indoors, outdoors or in sewers.
  • Those substances designated with a P may polymerize explosively when heated or involved in a fire.
  • Runoff to sewer may create fire or explosion hazard.
  • Containers may explode when heated.
  • Many liquids are lighter than water.


  • May cause toxic effects if inhaled or absorbed through skin.
  • Inhalation or contact with material may irritate or burn skin and eyes.
  • Fire will produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases.
  • Vapors may cause dizziness or suffocation.
  • Runoff from fire control or dilution water may cause pollution.


  • 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 50 meters (150 feet) in all directions.
  • Keep unauthorized personnel away.
  • Stay upwind.
  • Keep out of low areas.
  • Ventilate closed spaces before entering.


  • Wear positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
  • Structural firefighters' protective clothing will only provide limited protection.


Large Spill
  • Consider initial downwind evacuation for at least 300 meters (1000 feet).
  • 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.



CAUTION: All these products have a very low flash point: Use of water spray when fighting fire may be inefficient.
Small Fire
  • Dry chemical, CO2, water spray or regular foam.
Large Fire
  • Water spray, fog or regular foam.
  • Do not use straight streams.
  • Move containers from fire area if you can do it without risk.
Fire involving Tanks or Car/Trailer Loads
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • ELIMINATE all ignition sources (no smoking, flares, sparks or flames in immediate area).
  • All equipment used when handling the product must be grounded.
  • Do not touch or walk through spilled material.
  • Stop leak if you can do it without risk.
  • Prevent entry into waterways, sewers, basements or confined areas.
  • A vapor suppressing foam may be used to reduce vapors.
  • Absorb or cover with dry earth, sand or other non-combustible material and transfer to containers.
  • Use clean non-sparking tools to collect absorbed material.
Large Spill
  • Dike far ahead of liquid spill for later disposal.
  • Water spray may reduce vapor; but may not prevent ignition in closed spaces.


  • 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.
  • In case of contact with substance, immediately flush skin or eyes with running water for at least 20 minutes.
  • Wash skin with soap and water.
  • In case of burns, immediately cool affected skin for as long as possible with cold water. Do not remove clothing if adhering to skin.
  • Keep victim warm and quiet.
  • Effects of exposure (inhalation, ingestion or skin contact) to substance 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


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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