Guide will help first responders identify hazards, protect themselves
Transport Canada has released the 2020 edition of its Emergency Response Guidebook, a significant tool to assist first responders in quickly identifying the hazards of the materials when an accident involving dangerous goods occurs.
It will also help them determine the best approach to address the situation, protecting them and the public during the initial response to an incident, according to the government agency.
“Safety during an incident involving dangerous goods is our utmost priority. That is why we are continuously working to improve safety for Canadians and first responders who play a critical role in an emergency,” said Marc Garneau, minister of transport. “This revised guidebook is another step to ensure that first responders are well equipped to protect Canadians during the initial response phase.”
The guidebook is a joint publication by Transport Canada, the United States Department of Transportation, the Secretariat of Transport and Communications of Mexico and the CIQUIME (Centro de Informaciòn Quìmica para Emergencias) of Argentina. It is updated every four years.
It is designed for dangerous goods incidents on a highway or rail line. It may be less useful at fixed-facility locations, on aircrafts or vessels.
The 2020 edition includes updates such as:
- information on how to use the safety recommendations and emergency response guides
- a comprehensive review of the guides for products and additional cautionary advice
- an expansion of the glossary of new terms and definitions
- new sections on decontamination and heat-induced tears on tank cars
- new visual identifiers for quicker access to information.
The guidebook is available for free to certain groups such as municipal first responders, transportation of dangerous goods inspectors, remedial measures specialists, and provincial inspectors. Requests can be made through Transport Canada’s website.
Also, Transport Canada supports emergency response and first responders through the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre (CANUTEC). It is one of the major safety programs Transport Canada delivers to promote the safe movement of people and goods throughout Canada, by providing a 24/7 service that assists first responders in handling dangerous goods emergencies, according to the agency.
In June, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) recommended that Transport Canada, railway companies and their labour representatives work together to reduce the number of uncontrolled movements in rail yards, specifically those caused by rail cars being moved without using air brakes – a routine task known as “switching without air.”