The Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) is the first responder’s version of the Bible when it comes to any type of hazardous materials! It provides first responders with all of the basic information necessary to stay safe on a hazardous materials scene, how to begin to mitigate the scene, and all of the necessary evacuation information for the public. Until this course, I was not aware that the ERG is now available in a mobile application.
However, once I knew this, I quickly put the mobile app on my smart phone. I think this is the best way for first responders to access information quickly in the event of a haz mat incident. Obviously, learning how to use the app is something a person should do before an event. But to be fair, the first time someone handed me an ERG, I also had to learn to use that. Every new resource requires a new skill set for how to use it. The ERG is useless if a person is not familiar with it and how to use it. The same is true for the mobile app.
I think the mobile app is good because most people always have their cell phone on them. It is not easy to carry a book with you at all times, and the reality is that any first responder can come upon a scene at any time. It is also easy to carry at all times at work, if a person works in a factory or other area that may require this information. However, there is also the reality that technology fails. In a massive event, it is more likely that technology would fail. For this reason, I would also recommend that all first responder vehicles carry a hard copy of the ERG. In this way, there is a ‘back-up’ copy of the necessary material in the event of a technological problem.