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.




  • Substance is transported in molten form at a temperature above 705°C (1300°F).
  • Violent reaction with water; contact may cause an explosion or may produce a flammable gas.
  • Will ignite combustible materials (wood, paper, oil, debris, etc.).
  • Contact with nitrates or other oxidizers may cause an explosion.
  • Contact with containers or other materials, including cold, wet or dirty tools, may cause an explosion.
  • Contact with concrete will cause spalling and small pops.


  • Contact causes severe burns to skin and eyes.
  • 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 50 meters (150 feet) in all directions.
  • Keep unauthorized personnel away.
  • Ventilate closed spaces before entering.


  • Wear positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
  • Wear flame retardant structural firefighters' protective clothing, including faceshield, helmet and gloves, this will provide limited thermal protection.



  • Do Not Use Water, except in life threatening situations and then only in a fine spray.
  • Do not use halogenated extinguishing agents or foam.
  • Move combustibles out of path of advancing pool if you can do so without risk.
  • Extinguish fires started by molten material by using appropriate method for the burning material; keep water, halogenated extinguishing agents and foam away from the molten material.


  • Do not touch or walk through spilled material.
  • Do not attempt to stop leak, due to danger of explosion.
  • Keep combustibles (wood, paper, oil, etc.) away from spilled material.
  • Substance is very fluid, spreads quickly, and may splash. Do not try to stop it with shovels or other objects.
  • Dike far ahead of spill; use dry sand to contain the flow of material.
  • Where possible allow molten material to solidify naturally.
  • Avoid contact even after material solidifies. Molten, heated and cold aluminum look alike; do not touch unless you know it is cold.
  • Clean up under the supervision of an expert after material has solidified.


  • 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.
  • For severe burns, immediate medical attention is required.
  • Removal of solidified molten material from skin requires medical assistance.
  • 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.

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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