The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) is soliciting comments on the development of the Emergency Response Guidebook 2004 (ERG2004), particularly from those who have experience using the 2000 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG2000) during hazardous materials incidents. The ERG2004 will supersede ERG2000. The development of ERG2004 is a joint effort involving the transportation agencies of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. RSPA developed the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) for use by emergency services personnel to provide guidance for initial response to hazardous materials incidents. Since 1980, it has been RSPA’s goal for all public emergency response vehicles, including fire fighting, police, and rescue squad vehicles, to carry a copy of the ERG. To accomplish this, RSPA has published seven editions of the ERG and have distributed over seven million copies to emergency services agencies, without charge.
Comments are solicited on Emergency Response Guidebook user concerns and on the following questions:
- Have emergency responders experienced a problem of inconsistent guidance between ERG2000 and other sources of technical information? If so, in what way could ERG2004 be revised to reduce inconsistencies?
- Have emergency responders experienced confusion or difficulty in understanding the scope or purpose of ERG2000? If so, in what way could ERG2004 be revised to reduce this difficulty?
- Have emergency responders experienced confusion or difficulty in understanding the application of EGR2000? If so, in what way could ERG2004 be revised to reduce this difficulty?
- How could the “Table of Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances” or its introduction be made easier to comprehend and use?
- In the “Table of Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances,” does the distinction between day and night protective action distances add useful information for the first responder? How could the distinction be improved?
- Initial isolation and protective action distances were developed based on accident histories. Modeling for worst-case scenarios in the event of terrorism or sabotage indicates it may be appropriate to apply a factor of 1.5 or 2.0 to the values in the guidebook in those instances. What is the best way and format to alert the user to the need to consider increasing protective action distances when terrorism or sabotage is suspected? Should short, cautionary language to that effect be added to the guidebook?
- Could the “List of Dangerous Water-Reactive Material” introduced in NAERG96 be enhanced or improved?
- Have emergency responders experienced difficulty understanding the capabilities of chemical protective clothing, and the limitations of structural fire fighter’s protective clothing in hazardous materials incidents? If so, in what way can ERG2004 be revised to improve understanding?
- Have any identification numbers (ID No.) been incorrectly assigned to a material (Name or Material)?
- Has any identification number/material been assigned to the “wrong” guide? If so, please identify the material and the guide.
- Are the responses on each guide appropriate for the material assigned to the guide?
- Have emergency responders experienced difficulty with legibility of ERG2000’s print style, format, or durability?
- Have emergency response agencies experienced difficulty in obtaining copies of ERG2000 for their vehicles?
- Besides the Table of Placards, Rail Car Identification Chart, and Road Trailer Identification Chart, should other pictorial information be included?
- Are the Table of Placards, Rail Car Identification Chart, and Road Trailer Identification Chart accurate and useful?
- Are the terms listed in the Glossary defined satisfactorily?
- Should additional terms be added to the Glossary?
- How can this guidebook be enhanced to assist responders in responding to incidents of intentional release of chemical, radiological, nuclear, or biological agents?
Supporting data and analyses will enhance the value of comments submitted. Comments must be received on or before September 30, 2003 [Docket No. RSPA-03-14793; Notice No. 03-10]. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jerre Thomas, Research and Special Programs Administration (DHM-50), 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001, phone number: (202) 366-4900. Internet e-mail to email@example.com.