The Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) is an extremely useful reference manual used by many first responders worldwide. It assists rescue professionals in recognizing accidents involving hazardous chemicals, identifying life-threatening substances, selecting protection and evacuation strategies, mitigating damages on victims and the environment and, ultimately, saving lives. The ERG is published every four years in English, French and Spanish. A Russian version will be soon available in the framework of a EU-funded CBRN CoE Project 65 “Cabichem” (http://cabichem.eu/), a cooperation project about hazardous chemical and biological waste material, whose awareness-raising activities are led by the Italian National Research Council (CNR).
A systematic dissemination of the ERG manual, previously translated into Russian, and a parallel careful awareness-raising campaign, with workshops and tutorial sessions about its correct use in first responders’ and chemical industrial workers’ professional activities will allow Central Asian and Eastern European countries, where Russian is a common working language, to strengthen the preparedness of emergency operators and enhance their capability to cope with risks related to an unintentional or deliberate release of hazardous and/or toxic chemical substances.
The Emergency Response Guidebook* (ERG) provides first responders and chemical safety professionals with a go-to manual to help deal with transportation accidents involving hazardous materials during the first critical minutes after the event. It is a 400-page-long handbook, jointly developed and published by the emergency response agencies in Canada, Mexico and the United States. It is updated on a regular basis and is distributed for free to workers operating in scenarios where a risk of contamination by chemical, biological or radiological hazardous substances is present. Thanks to its user-friendly style, that makes it suitable for non-specialist operators, even with limited technical knowledge, ERG manual has become the reference first-approach text for emergency professionals in most part of the world since its first version in year 2000. Moreover, recommendations and instructions reported in the ERG are not country-specific and do not refer to the use of any special or tailored equipment or risk-mitigation tool. For this reason, ERG guidelines are versatile and can be easily adapted to various countries, also with different technical and methodological backgrounds.
Currently, no Russian version of the text has been published so far and this limits the use of it by professionals in Eastern European and Central Asian countries, where Russian is the main working and communication language.
The diffusion and circulation of the Russian version of the manual will broaden the range of final users and will enhance the preparedness and response capability in terms of private workers’ and public safety, environmental protection and resilience against unintentional natural events, industrial accidents or criminal acts involving the use of hazardous chemicals.
The original English 2020 version of the ERG book was received in early August from the Canadian publisher and will be translated and adapted by native Russian-speaker chemists and academic experts selected among the Local Experts of the EU Centres of Excellence on CBRN Risk Mitigation, active in Central Asia region through EU CBRN CoE Project 65 “Cabichem”.
A special attention will be paid to tailoring and adapting the text to local needs and existing standard and regulations. In fact, the ERG has no regulatory purposes. Rather, it provides the user with guidelines and rules-of-thumb for a balanced and safe response by non-specialist operators at an incident site. A preface section with warnings on this point and careful adaptations to local standards will be added to the final translated version of the manual.
The first draft of the text will be thoroughly revised and assessed by members of the Task Group. The final electronic PDF file and the printed paper copy will be produced and completed in collaboration with the local partners of the Task Group.
* The ERG is readily available at https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/erg/emergency-response-guidebook-erg
April 2021 update: On March 17, the task group had a productive kick-off meeting. Detailed plans have been reviewed, including inputs from experts and professionals. Intermediate goals have been outlined.
Page last updated 4 Apr 2021