This is a guest app review by EMT, Firefighter, and HazMat Coordinator Brent Jensen. If you want to guest post or review on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Searchable ERG is an application developed by STKI Concepts for Android phones. As the application’s name implies, it is the 2008 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) in a searchable format. You might be familiar with the ERG, from a HazMat Awareness class, or a portion of your EMT curriculum. This ERG App is much simpler and even easier to use for $1.49 in the Android Market.
The Searchable ERG App offers a disclaimer that it doesn’t include the instructions for using the actual guidebook materials, but that’s alright. Anyone who has looked at the paperback or PDF ERG will pick this up quickly.
The only user customizable option is font size. I have set mine to X-Large for scene usage, but in the classroom I could set it back to a smaller, less obscene size for scrollablity. Once you set that up, the program is self-explanatory. The search feature is easy to use, and accessible anywhere in the program by the search hard-key on your phone. Working with the program I found myself returning to the search instead of browsing for entries because of its auto-suggest feature. For instance, by typing in “Hydrogen” I now have a list of all products that begin with hydrogen in their name. Likewise, typing in “190” gives me all of the product names in the 1900 to 1909 UN number range, helpful if you can only see the beginning of the number.
Browsing by Material Name, ID (UN) Number, and Guidebook number are also options . All material is presented in expandable lists, which make efficient use of screen real estate. Once you enter the product page, you have 3 or 4 lists you can expand. First off if you have a gas that is a listed Toxic Inhalation Hazard (signified with green highlighting) you have the isolation distances printed at top, no more second table to search down. Then sections are broken down to Potential Hazards, Public Safety, and Emergency Response. Everything is easy to ready and well-organized.
There are only a few drawbacks to this program, which are by no means a deal breaker. First off it would be nice to have a listing of placards, like you would find at the front of the ERG, or at least a listing of the hazard classes you find on them with definitions. Secondly, a listing of the national response phone numbers commonly used in HazMat situations, and possibly even the feature to add your own local phone book would be a great addition.
Searchable ERG is a great application that any responder with an Android phone should purchase. On the operating system there were no problems, no forced closes, and no battery issues. I encourage everyone to support application developers and purchase apps you are interested in. Android Market offers a 24 hour trial period during which you can uninstall your program and get an automatic refund. At $1.49 and no monthly fee it’s only slightly more expensive than the McD’s sweet tea I’m drinking and much more useful.
This Android App Review was written by Brent Jensen. He is an EMT-B, FF I/II, HazMat Technician, EMS Division Captain for a volunteer suburban department, Assistant Coordinator for county-wide HazMat team and a full-time 911 Police/Fire/EMS dispatcher.