Emergency procedures

EmS and MFAG

When ships are far from land, the crew must independently manage most problems that arise. In case dangerous goods are involved in an accident or incident of any kind, it is recommended that two "instruction books”"be kept available onboard for reference: EmS (Emergency Procedures for Ships Carrying Dangerous Goods) and MFAG (Medical First Aid Guide).

EmS contains procedures for the actions that can be taken if there is a fire or spill of dangerous goods. It contains general procedures applicable to an entire substance class as well as procedures specific to certain products. Examples of the information found in the specific "emergency schedules" are necessary protective equipment and the types of extinguishing agents that can be used to put out fires involving dangerous goods.

A new EmS has been drafted and was published with the 31st version of the IMDG Code. The new EmS is divided into EmS for fires and EmS for spills. As before, there will be EmS numbers for every UN number in column 15 of the Dangerous Goods List. EmS number does not have to be specified in the Dangerous Goods Declaration.

The consignor may also judge that the EmS procedures should be supplemented for a specific substance, but the basic rule (according to Swedish regulations) is that the EmS number is adequate as emergency procedures.

MFAG was revised in conjunction with publication of the 30th version of the IMDG Code. As a result, MFAG table numbers do not have to be stated on the Dangerous Goods Declaration. MFAG consists of a flow chart which shows what actions should be taken, based on the situation and symptoms, when a person has been exposed to dangerous goods of some kind. However, it is important that the crew has been trained to use MFAG in advance so that it will work in an emergency.

The crew can also get in touch with a doctor via Radio Medical to get assistance treating an injured person onboard.

The Swedish Transport Agency's regulations on transport of dangerous goods in packaged form also state what medicines and medical devices must be found onboard when dangerous goods are being transported.

In emergencies, it is important to utilise all information available in the IMDG Code, EmS and MFAG (as well as the IMSBC, IBC or IGC Codes with regard to bulk cargoes).