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 147
LITHIUM ION BATTERIES

POTENTIAL HAZARDS

FIRE OR EXPLOSION

  • Lithium ion batteries contain flammable liquid electrolyte that may vent, ignite and produce sparks when subjected to high temperatures (> 150 C (302 F)), when damaged or abused (e.g., mechanical damage or electrical overcharging).
  • May burn rapidly with flare-burning effect.
  • May ignite other batteries in close proximity.

HEALTH

  • Contact with battery electrolyte may be irritating to skin, eyes and mucous membranes.
  • Fire will produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases.
  • Burning batteries may produce toxic hydrogen fluoride gas (see GUIDE 125).
  • Fumes may cause dizziness or suffocation.

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 25 meters (75 feet) in all directions.
  • Keep unauthorized personnel away.
  • Stay upwind.
  • Keep out of low areas.
  • Ventilate closed spaces before entering.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

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

EVACUATION

Large Spill
  • Consider initial downwind evacuation for at least 100 meters (330 feet).
Fire
  • If rail car or trailer is involved in a fire, ISOLATE for 500 meters (1/3 mile) in all directions; also initiate evacuation including emergency responders for 500 meters (1/3 mile) in all directions.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

FIRE

Small Fire
  • Dry chemical, CO2, water spray or regular foam.
Large Fire
  • Water spray, fog or regular foam.
  • Move containers from fire area if you can do it without risk.

SPILL OR LEAK

  • ELIMINATE all ignition sources (no smoking, flares, sparks or flames in immediate area).
  • Do not touch or walk through spilled material.
  • Absorb with earth, sand or other non-combustible material.
  • Leaking batteries and contaminated absorbent material should be placed in metal containers.

FIRST AID

  • 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.
  • 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)

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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.

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