Each day, America's front-line responders arrive on the scene of potentially dangerous hazardous materials incidents. It's a tremendous responsibility and they do a terrific job. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude. But we also have the responsibility to make sure our firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and law enforcement officers are prepared with the most current response information should they find themselves on the scene of a hazmat incident.
Through safety standards, supported by inspections and enforcement, PHMSA's highest priority is to ensure the safe movement of hazardous materials to industry and consumers. As our family doctor always advised, prevention is the best medicine.
Preparedness and response are also good medicine. That's why we're releasing the 2012 edition of PHMSA's Emergency Response Guidebook, a comprehensive manual to help deal with hazardous materials during the critical first 30 minutes of an incident.
Emergency responders will use the newly revised guide to identify the specific hazardous materials involved in an incident and the risks associated with those materials. Then, responders can find a list of measures they should take to ensure their own safety and contain the incident as quickly and responsibly as possible.
As PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman said, “The guidebook provides responders with critical information and guidance during the initial stages of a hazmat emergency. Taking the proper action during those critical first minutes has a huge impact on safety."
We take the safety of this nation and its emergency responders very seriously, so we'd like to place a copy of this guide in every emergency response vehicle in the country.
And this summer, PHMSA will also release a mobile version of the guide for smartphones that the National Library of Medicine will include in its Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders. That will ensure even broader distribution to our valued responders.
DOT and America's first responders are committed to your safety and the safety of your community. The 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook is an important part of that commitment, and I thank everyone at PHMSA who helped make it happen.