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Be WISER! The Free Hazardous Substance Response Information System

Posted on Thu, Jul 26, 2012

The Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER) developed by the National Library of Medicine, is a free government resource that provides information for over 440 hazardous substances, including substance identification descriptions, physical characteristics, health information, and containment and suppression guidance.

WISER is available as a standalone application on Microsoft Windows PCs, Apple's iPhone and iPod touch devices, Google Android devices, BlackBerry devices, Windows Mobile devices, and Palm OS PDAs. With easy accessibility through Internet connectivity, responders can tap into specific hazardous material details and associated response parameters.

After easily downloading the resource, the user can select a profile as a First responder, HAZMAT Specialist, or EMS professional. With WISER, the user is able to:

  • search for known substance
  • seek assistance in identifying unknown substances
  • explore government resources such as Emergency Response guide books, Radiological tools, and standard triage procedures.

While searching for a known substance, users have access to a variety of associated Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) information including, but not limited to:

  • Key characteristics
  • Identification elements
  • treatment overview
  • health effects
  • toxicity summary (if applicable)
  • IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health)
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Hazard Classification

The system breaks down the substance to include a variety of information including, but not limited to:

  • Basic industrial information (shipping and registry number, molecular formula, synonyms, etc)
  • Chemical properties (color, odor, taste, melting point, etc)
  • HAZMAT (chemical reactivity, firefighting procedures, protective distance, cleanup and disposal methods)
  • Medical (treatment overview, NIOSHA recommendations, AEGL, Radiation limits, OSHA standards, etc),
  • Environmental (CERCLA Quantities, Non-human toxicity values, soil adsorption,  etc)

The WISER substance information and identification properties come from the Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), developed and maintained by the National Library of Medicine. The database substances were chosen based on First Responder inputs, degree of chemical hazard, and historical frequency of incidents.

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Tags: Fire Department Training, Emergency Management, Incident Management, Training and Exercises, Safety, Chemical Industry