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The 2008 ERG is a valuable tool for identifying hazardous materials and determining the proper actions to be taken by first responders. Just as first responders are limited in what they can do at the scene of a hazardous materials emergency, the guidebook is limited in the amount of information it provides. It is not intended to be used during the mitigation phase of the incident and therefore should not be used as one of the reference materials selected to determine mitigation methods. Free copies of the 2008 ERG are provided by the United States Department of Transportation to all police, fire, EMS and other emergency response organizations through a selected agency in each state. Your state agency can be determined by contacting the DOT Office of Hazardous Materials Transportation Research and Special Programs at 202) 366-0656. State contacts for the 2008 ERG are also listed on the DOT website http://hazmat.dot.gov/pubs/erg/statecoord.htm.
The author has developed a training course for the 2008 ERG that is available in a PowerPoint CD-ROM version. In addition to the PowerPoint slides, each CD contains an electronic version of the ERG for PCs and one for Pocket PCs, a DOT Chart 13, Burke Placard Hazard Chart, Instructor Guide, Student Manual, list of state ERG contacts, list of private-sector sources, course certificate template and final exam. Information may be obtained by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, faxing 410-760-2549 or accessing www.hazardousmaterialspage.com.
ROBERT BURKE, a FirehouseÂ® contributing editor, is the fire marshal for the University of Maryland Baltimore. He is a Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFSP), Fire Inspector II, Fire Inspector III, Fire Investigator and Hazardous Materials Specialist, and has served on state and county hazardous materials response teams. Burke is an adjunct instructor at the National Fire Academy and the Community College of Baltimore, Catonsville Campus, and the author of the textbooks Hazardous Materials Chemistry for Emergency Responders and Counter-Terrorism for Emergency Responders. He can be contacted at email@example.com.