In September Greysi Reyna and Kathy Carter, librarians at the Mario E. Ramirez, M.D. Library at the H-RAHC, attended a hazardous materials training exercise conducted by the Harlingen Fire Department. Harlingen firefighters simulated containment of a chlorine leak as part of the exercise.
RAHC librarians participated to learn more about how WISER, a database produced by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), is used by HazMat specialists to respond to hazardous material emergencies.
A key feature of WISER is support for identification of unknown substances. Emergency responders use WISER to identify and validate unknown substances based on the following:
- signs/symptoms of victims of exposure
- physical properties of the substance gathered by observation or sensors
- hazard values from NFPA 704 placards
- the ability to categorize a substance, such as a substance used in a meth lab, a flammable substance, etc.
- transportation identification, including DOT placards, type of road trailer, and type of rail car
Information gathered during the exercise will be used by librarians to plan future classes on the use of WISER and other NLM databases for the Harlingen Fire Department.