49 CFR Hazmat Update: Emergency Response Phone Numbers

Posted on 6/6/2016 by Roger Marks

Last week, US DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) posted a long list of major (and not-so-major) changes to the 49 CFR hazmat shipping rules. Among these changes was an important update regarding the emergency response phone number shippers must provide on the shipping papers for most hazmat shipments.

Change for Hazmat Emergency Response Phone Numbers

As of July 5, DOT will require emergency response phone number to be presented using numbers only.

Alphanumeric phone numbers (i.e., “1-800-4HAZMAT”) will no longer be accepted. In the past, most touchtone phones had letters associated with each digit and printed clearly on the buttons. This is no longer the case. To prevent confusion and dialing mistakes that could cost responders precious time in an emergency situation, DOT will require numeric phone numbers only. 1-800-4HAZMAT, for example, should be written as 1-800-442-9628 on hazmat shipping papers.

What Is a Hazmat Emergency Response Telephone Number?

The emergency response telephone number connects emergency response personnel to a provider of emergency response information (ERI). The number must be manned 24/7, so that at any time a responder can call and get critical information about hazardous materials involved in a crash or other emergency.

Because not all hazmat shippers can keep a telephone number staffed 24/7, many rely on a third-party service provider to meet the emergency response information requirements of 49 CFR. If the third-party provider your company uses presents its phone number alphanumerically, make sure you update your shipping papers to prevent noncompliance with the updated 49 CFR rules.
DOT hazmat shipping papers

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