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.
SUBSTANCES - SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTIBLE
FIRE OR EXPLOSION
- Flammable/combustible material.
- May ignite on contact with moist air or moisture.
- May burn rapidly with flare-burning effect.
- Some react vigorously or explosively on contact with water.
- Some may decompose explosively when heated or involved in a fire.
- May re-ignite after fire is extinguished.
- Runoff may create fire or explosion hazard.
- Containers may explode when heated.
- Fire will produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases.
- Inhalation of decomposition products may cause severe injury or death.
- Contact with substance may cause severe burns to skin and eyes.
- Runoff from fire control 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 in all directions for at least 50 meters (150 feet) for liquids and at least 25 meters (75 feet) for solids.
- Stay upwind.
- Keep unauthorized personnel away.
- Keep out of low areas.
- 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 will only provide limited protection.
- See Table 1 - Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances for highlighted materials. For non-highlighted materials, increase, in the downwind direction, as necessary, the isolation distance shown under PUBLIC SAFETY.
- 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.
- DO NOT USE WATER, CO2 OR FOAM ON MATERIAL ITSELF.
- Some of these materials may react violently with water.
EXCEPTION: For Xanthates, UN3342 and for Dithionite (Hydrosulfite/Hydrosulphite) UN1384, UN1923 and UN1929, USE FLOODING AMOUNTS OF WATER for SMALL AND LARGE fires to stop the reaction.
Smothering will not work for these materials, they do not need air to burn.
- Dry chemical, soda ash, lime or DRY sand, EXCEPT for UN1384, UN1923 and UN1929.
- DRY sand, dry chemical, soda ash or lime EXCEPT for UN1384, UN1923 and UN1929, or withdraw from area and let fire burn.
- 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.
- Do not get water inside containers or in contact with substance.
- 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.
SPILL OR LEAK
- Fully encapsulating, vapor protective clothing should be worn for spills and leaks with no fire.
- ELIMINATE all ignition sources (no smoking, flares, sparks or flames in immediate area).
- Do not touch or walk through spilled material.
- Stop leak if you can do it without risk.
EXCEPTION: For spills of Xanthates, UN3342 and for Dithionite (Hydrosulfite/Hydrosulphite), UN1384, UN1923 and UN1929, dissolve in 5 parts water and collect for proper disposal.
- Cover with DRY earth, DRY sand or other non-combustible material followed with plastic sheet to minimize spreading or contact with rain.
- Use clean non-sparking tools to collect material and place it into loosely covered plastic containers for later disposal.
- Prevent entry into waterways, sewers, basements or confined areas.
- 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.
- 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)
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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