Fire/emergency medical services Federal agencies

CSB recommends changes to DOT’s Emergency Response Guidebook

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Washington – The Department of Transportation should clarify its Emergency Response Guidebook so firefighters, medical technicians and police offers know it does not pertain to chemical incidents at fixed facilities, according to the Chemical Safety Board.

CSB called for upgrades to the guidebook on Oct. 8 after DOT issued a Request for Information seeking feedback on proposed revisions. The guidebook was published in 2012 and is scheduled to be revised for public release in 2016.

According to CSB, the guidebook “is intended for incidents involving the transport of hazardous materials and is limited to the size of the transportation containers involved.” But several CSB investigations found that emergency responders used the guidebook for incidents at fixed chemical or manufacturing facilities, which may include larger quantities of hazardous materials as well as other risks not addressed in the document.

“We have respectfully submitted our comments to the DOT, based on years of our incident investigations, which show that responders are often not aware that this important manual is intended only for responding to chemical releases or fire incidents in transportation accidents, such as railroad tankers or truck-hauled containers, and not fixed facilities,” CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said in a press release.