Sentinel Handbook

Tips for security, safety, and crime prevention volunteers

Dealing With The Unexpected: HazMat Emergencies

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English: Source: "Emergency Response Guid...

English: Source: “Emergency Response Guidebook.” U.S. Department of Transportation, 2004, pages 16-17. Category:Hazardous Materials (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pop quiz, Hotshot.

  • You come across a scene where a tanker truck has a loose valve and is leaking fluid. What do you do?
  • You’re patrolling along a construction site and find a barrel tipped over on its side, spilling the contents. What do you do?
  • A pickup truck from a local pest control company has gotten into an accident and has caught fire. What do you do?

There are many ways you can come across dangerous, potentially lethal, materials in your neighborhood. As the first on scene, you need to know what to do. Fortunately, several government agencies, some from the United States and some from other countries, have collaborated on a guidebook for first responders during the initial phase of a dangerous goods / hazardous materials incident. This guide will help you identify hazardous materials, give you directions as to what to do, and who to contact.

There are printed versions of this manual as well as versions downloadable for your computer, iPhone, or smart phone. I suggest getting both a hard copy for your vehicle, and downloading a copy to your electronic device. Familiarize yourself with how to use the manual BEFORE an incident so that you don’t waste precious time trying to figure out how to find the information you are looking for. Having this information handy could save lives.. and I mean a LOT of lives, by telling you what to do, and allowing you to give VITAL information to emergency dispatch.

http://phmsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/PHMSA/DownloadableFiles/Files/Hazmat/ERG2012.pdf (Emergency Response Guidebook – 2012 Edition)

You can download a version called WISER, that can be accessed on a Windows compatible device.. like a Blackberry. You can also download a version for your PC.

http://wiser.nlm.nih.gov/

WISER – Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders, the mobile application designed to help first responders with hazardous material incidents. WISER provides a wide range of information on hazardous substances, including substance identification support, physical characteristics, human health information, and containment and suppression advice. The new WISER for Android and iPhones is available for free from the apps stores.

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