How to download and use the Emergency Response Guide app

Install the ERG smartphone app to always have the most up-to-date information when responding to a hazmat incident

The 2012 Emergency Response Guide (ERG) is available as free app for your smartphone or tablet. The software version of the 2012 Emergency Response Guide "relies strictly on the information contained in the ERG."1

The availability of the ERG, direct from the U.S. Department of Transportation, as an app rather than a printed book is an exciting development for emergency responders. You are welcome to use the below training curriculum or adapt it for your needs.

App Downloading and Installation

Start the training session by asking personnel to download the 2012 ERG app to their phone or tablet. I am sure you have enough personnel with iPhones or Android devices to assure that there will be at least one installed app per two people. Download the free app from the Google Play store or the Apple App store.

Use this opportunity to discuss the importance of safe clicking. Download and install apps from known and reliable publishers. Check app reviews and ratings as they might provide red flags about an apps content and functionality.

Encourage members to set-up an EMS app launch screen. In addition to the ERG app, a calculator, and stopwatch consider adding other EMS apps for iOS and Android.

Tour the ERG App

As soon as the app installs many personnel will start browsing and searching the app without any encouragement. As needed, talk them through the app contents or simply project this checklist on the big screen:

  • Read about ERG 2012
  • Browse placard types
  • Browse guide pages

Encourage personnel to search material identifiers by all or a portion of a chemical's name or the 4-digit UN identification number. After a few minutes of browsing, instruct the entire group to search for a specific chemical by its name and UN identifier. For example, find the Guide for Butyl Acetates (1123).

Do you think an ERG app is better than the printed guide? Can you find information faster and more accurately with an app or printed guide?

About the author

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is Editor-in-Chief of He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at

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  1. Tags
  2. Apps
  3. Education
  4. Hazmat
  5. software
  6. Training

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