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NLM Aids Federal Effort to Distribute Revised Hazmat Guidebooks to Emergency First Responders

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced that it is granting emergency responders electronic access to the Emergency Response Guidebook 2008 (ERG2008), through laptops and personal digital assistants (PDAs), under a joint effort between DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world's largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health. This new hazmat safety guide for police, fire and other emergency response organizations is designed to aid emergency response personnel who may be the first to arrive at the scene of a transportation incident involving hazardous materials.

The NLM-developed software application and NLM's Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER) software are stand-alone applications for Pocket PCs, PDAs, and Windows-based laptop computers. This joint effort keeps pace with the advance of portable personal technology and fulfills the request of a number of emergency responders for an electronic-based ERG. DOT is also distributing nearly 1.75 million print copies of the ERG.

"In the first critical moments of a hazmat incident, the ERG is an invaluable reference tool to first responders that helps save lives," said Carl T. Johnson, Administrator of DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. "The option of having the ERG available either in hard copy or electronically increases responder flexibility."

The guidebook is a joint project between the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Transport Canada, the Secretariat of Transport and Communications of Mexico, and includes the collaboration of CIQUIME of Argentina. The book provides guidance to first responders on how to identify the types of hazardous materials that may be involved in an incident and how to respond to the threats those materials might pose to emergency crews and the public.

For more information on the ERG2008, or to download the ERG and WISER software application, visit http://hazmat.dot.gov, or call (202) 366-4900. Print copies of the ERG are also available commercially through the U.S. Government Printing Office Bookstore and other commercial vendors. For information on NLM's WISER software, visit http://wiser.nlm.nih.gov.

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