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Fire-RescueEMS Instructor, Ed Leeson thanks all our local fire departments for their consistent support of our program

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Hazmat Training at KACC

Slow Down - Proceed with Caution

Firefighters deal with hazardous materials incidents much differently than
building fires. Because there are so many different chemicals that present |
so many different dangers, they are taught to: slow down, proceed with
aution, and determine from a safe distance what t
hey are dealing with before instituting any kind of tactics
or strategy.  
 
To accomplish this, every emergency apparatus carries some form
of the  Department of Transportation's  Emergency Response Guidebook
(DOT-ERG).  First published in 1 973 and updated every four years
it contains information about thousands of hazardous
materials. Students in the Fire-Rescue-EMR curriculum at KACC
have been undergoing Hazmat training as a part of our well-
rounded program. 
 

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 The DOT- ERG is primarily a guide to aid first responder's
initial actions in quickly identifying the specific or generic hazards of the
material(s) involved in the incident, and protecting themselves and the
general public during the first phase of the incident.  This guide is used
in that period following arrival at the scene during which the presence
and/or identification of dangerous goods is confirmed, protective actions
and area securement are initiated, and assistance of qualified personnel
is requested.
 
It is divided into six color-coded sections (white [uncolored] which contains,
yellow, blue, orange, green, and a second white [uncolored]). The ERG lists
thousands of chemicals in alphabetical order (blue section) or numerical
order (yellow section) based on their 4-digit UN identification number. 

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It includes 62 "Guides" (orange section) that identify the primary hazards associated with the applicable general category of hazardous material and general guidance on how to respond to incidents involving that general category of hazardous material. 
 
The ERG also provides guidance regarding recommended evacuation distances (green section) if applicable.  
 
Because of the danger involved, usually, only two firefighters get close enough to identify the chemicals involved by relying on the placards or labels (diamond-shaped signs) which are affixed to hazardous materials containers. They gather the information contained on the placard (colors, UN ID numbers, hazard class numbers, symbols) and transmit the information via radio to other firefighters who use the ERG to indicate what actions should be taken.  
 
To paraphrase the famous song: "Fools rush in, where wise men never go because they see the danger there.  So how is it that they know?  By learning how to use the D.O.T. Emergency Response Guidebook!
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Kankakee Area Career Center4083 N 1000 W Road

PO Box 570Bourbonnais, IL 60914

815-939-4971Fax: 815-939-7598

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