How dangerous is your neighborhood, do you live near a major highway or railroad tracks? Trucks and trains transport large amount of hazardous materials. In case of a major natural disaster, train or truck accident, this can cause you to have to evacuate or risk sickness or death. Hazardous or explosive materials can contaminate large area rapidly. Some large spills can require evacuations of up to a mile or more downwind.
If you live near any routes over which hazardous materials are moved you want to obtain the latest copy of the Emergency Response Guidebook published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. You can purchase this guidebook over the internet. The 2012 issue is now available. Here is the link to a site that will let you download the book for free http://bit.ly/VapgT9.
This guidebook is designed for first responders (fireman and police) to use to evaluate the dangers of the spill. It contains the codes required to read the guide numbers on the placards located on the sides of the trucks and trains. This permits you to identify what types of hazardous materials are being transported. The guidebook also provides the recommended evacuation distances in case of a spill or accident involving hazardous materials.
With a pair of binoculars and this book, you can determine the type of materials and their dangers from a distance. This book is good throughout the United States and Canada.