Managing Radiation Emergencies
Guidance for Prehospital Emergency Services
All shipments of radioactive material, with the exception of those containing limited quantities or those of low specific activity (LSA), bear two identifying warning labels affixed to opposite sides of the outer package. Three different labels -- White-I, Yellow-II, or Yellow-III -- are used on the external surface of packages containing radioactive material.
The U.N. hazard class "7" is on labels of radioactive material.
Package labels specify the radioactive content and the quantity in curies. Yellow-II and Yellow-III also specify the transport index.
a "Exclusive use" shipments may be up to 0.01 Sv/hr (1 rem/hr), provided an enclosed vehicle is used. An unenclosed shipment (e.g., on a flatbed truck) may not exceed 2 ÁSv/hr (200 mrem/hr) on the surface.
Typical radioactive material warning placard
Standard size is 10 x 10 inches.
The placard shown must be used anytime a vehicle carries one or more packages of a Radioactive Yellow III label or if the vehicle is operating under exclusive use provisions required for certain LSA shipments or packages with higher than normal radiation levels.
Any four-digit ID number shown on an adjacent orange panel is used for specific identification of the cargo. The panel to the left bears the international identification number (International Series) for radioactive material, LSA, n.o.s. (material containing uniformly distributed radioactive material in low concentrations). This is the same four-digit ID number that must appear with the proper shipping name on the package as well as on the shipping documents. Refer to this number in the ERG for response information.
The number "7" at the bottom of the placard is the U.N. hazard class description for radioactive materials.
Most shipments of radioactive material are accompanied by documents, such as shipping papers or bills of lading, which are of great value in assessing potential hazards in transportation accidents. These papers will have a 24-hour contact number for information about the material and potential health hazards.
Limits for Non-Exclusive Use Vehicle
Limits for Exclusive Use Vehicle
The number given indicates the maximum radiation level (in mrem/hr) at a distance of one meter from the external surface of a package or container. (Readings in mSv/hr are multiplied by 100 to get mrem/hr.) For example, a TI of 3 (as shown above) would indicate that, at one meter from the labeled package, the radiation intensity that can be measured is no more than 3 mrem/hr (.03 mSv/hr).
If the radiation level at one meter from a package is found to be higher than the specified value, a radiation authority should be consulted. The package contents might have shifted, shielding might have been breached, or an error might have occurred in packaging or labeling.
* Follow standard protocols. Consult U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Emergency Response Guidebook.