Hazardous Spills and Transportation

Warning placards

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.

Learn to read the hazardous material codes

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.

The guidebook


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4 Responses to Hazardous Spills and Transportation

  1. KE4SKY says:

    Good info. Back in 1999 or so we had a tractor-trailer with 20 Tons of Explosive A roll over bear the I495/I 95 split in NoVa which required evacuation of a 1-mile radius from the accident site. I decided upon moving to WVA I wanted to be on the backside of North Mtn. in case anything on I81 wanted to go BANG!

  2. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    This is good knowledge to have just being able to reconize the danger placards in general because we all travel on roads. Even the backroads have oilfield trucks and farm equipment with hazardous items such as fertilizer chemicals, oils, etc.

  3. Jason says:

    Hazardous spills was one of the main concerns for me. Living where i have seen a doz wrecks in as many years, several being tractor trailers. All of them have been carrying logs or sawdust but the though of a hazardous material spill is at the forefront of my mind. I was able to convince my family and my parents who live nearby to have bug out bags bases on this one argument. Now their eyes are open to much more.


  4. Jim says:

    Good post – I keep an ERG in my bug-out “books” bin. At work we recently replaced our 2008 ERGs with the 2012 revision, then donated the old ones to our local CERT. If you know a fireman or other EHS professional, they might just be able to hook you up with a slightly used physical copy of the 2008 revision for free…

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