Home Podcasts THMG099 – Free Online Resources – Part 3

THMG099 – Free Online Resources – Part 3


We wrap up the series with computer based and web based software, and answer a question from Jake Burns on Propane. Thanks for listening and watching!

Thank you to Spectral Labs, HazSim and  FirstLine Tech for their support.

CHEMICAL COMPANION – Emergency Response Decision Support System (ERDSS)

Chemical Companion is a first responder software designed to make decision making and situational analysis faster and more accurate in the field. It provides interpretations of data from first responder instruments to push out real-time safety suggestions and threat analytics.
Chemical Companion is available for use for all approved military, law enforcement, and first responder organizations (Fire, Hazmat, etc.) in the U.S. and partnering countries, and is free-of-charge for all approved organizations. Once approved, the various modules utilize user input data to produce the following guides:
Detailed information on 2,000 common chemicals and synonyms
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including respirators
Hazardous concentration levels and exposure guidelines
Isolation and protective action distances
ERG and emergency medical information
Identify unknown chemicals using physical properties or exposure symptoms
Decision support tools

RAILS – Spectral Labs

The Realistic, Adaptive, Interactive Learning System (RAILS) is a comprehensive software simulation-based learning system for use in training Law Enforcement Officers, Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Hazmat Teams, and other First Responders in the use of Personal Radiation Detector s (PRD) and Radioactive Isotope Identification Devices (RIID).
The RAILS training games take place in ten different environments, each of which contains several training games in which eight radiation detection devices may be used. The games include tutorial levels that enable the trainee to practice instrument operation and experience basic radiation dose rate concepts, as well as scored challenge levels, which when completed successfully unlock progressively more difficult levels. Each challenge level is followed by a debrief in which the user is asked follow-up questions and given their scores for metrics such as time to find sources, ability to identify the sources, and practicing of safety protocols.

PUBCHEMNational Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) / Nat’l Institute of Health (NIH)

This is a database of chemical molecules and their activities against biological assays. The system is maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a component of the National Library of Medicine, which is part of the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH). Information is constantly updated and growing, contained in three primary databases:
Compounds, with over 80 million – pure and characterized compounds
Substances, with almost 200 million – mixtures, extracts, complexes, and uncharacterized compounds
BioAssay, bioactivity results, just over 1 million high-throughput screening programs with several million values
Searching the databases can be done using chemical name or name fragment, chemical structure, chemical formula, molecular weight, as well as other pieces of scientific information that are far beyond the HazMat responder!
Results of a search provides information about synonyms, chemical/physical properties, chemical structure including SMILES and InChI strings, bioactivity, and links to structurally related compounds and other NCBI databases like PubMed. Results also contain information about material uses, safety, toxicity, and classification.
The user interface is very concise, with simple searchbars and menus to help filter down the search results. Beware, this is by no means a tool for the beginner, and was definitely not designed for Responders. However, it does provide plenty of information that we are familiar with and that will be helpful to us.

OnPointEHS First Responders – RightAnswer

This is an integrated, single-search system that has access to ~100 government and academic data sources, and it is always current and accurate. It has a one step user interface, and draws from a collection of over 400,000 chemicals, 23,000 manufacturers, and 4,500 hazardous substances. As a public service, access to the OnPointEHS First Responders portal is FREE to qualified U.S. first responders. These are some examples of the source materials:
ChemCollection™ System – ChemID (integrated government sites) provides over 75 data sources including

  • Emergency Response Guide 2016
  • Federal Register
  • HazardText™
  • HSDB®
  • IRIS
  • New Jersey Fact Sheets
  • 1st Medical Response® Protocols

RADIOACTIVE DECAY CALCULATOR – University of Washington Environmental Health and Safety

This is an interactive tool with 118 listed radioisotopes that allows the user to quickly calculate decay times. It has a calculator for conversions between Ci and Bq (either direction), as well as day and date calculators that assist the user with figuring calendar time in days.


This is another interactive tool for radiation calculations and conversions. It can be used directly from its website, or downloaded as desktop freeware. There is also RadPro PDA, which has smartphone versions of some of the calculators. Designed for the nuclear industry (NOT responders), a portion of its capabilities are likely NOT useful to us. However, some could be very useful, such as the following:

Gamma Emitter Point Source Dose-Rate <–to–> Activity and Shielding Calculations (In Air)
Beta Emitter Dose-Rate <—-> Activity Calculations (In Air)
X-Ray Device Dose-Rate and Shielding Calculations (In Air)
ALARA Calculations (Time, Distance and Shielding)
Inverse Square Law Calculations
Radiological Units Conversions
Decay and Half Life Calculations
Activity Conversions

IEC CHEMICAL PRECURSOR DATABASE – Todd Burton – Industrial Emergency Council (IEC)

This software will assist you in determining the potential Chemical Lab, Chemical Physical Properties of the precursors and byproducts and monitoring alternatives. It is INTENDED for use by First Responders, HazMat Technicians, Bomb Squad, Law Enforcment, and EMS personnel. This software is free, but you must sign up and be cleared to have access to it. It is designed to be used on any smartphone, desktop, laptop, and tablet using CHROME browser.
The user enters the chemicals they have encountered, and the software helps to decide if the scene is a Drug Lab or Explosives Lab, and provides many of the properties and hazards associated with them. It can also help to identify By-products of the manufacturing processes, and their properties as well. The interface is extremely simple and easy to use, with a simple guide at the top of the interface to help the user navigate.


SmartSuite is a collection of Chemical Management tools (modules).
SmartSDS – Covers most Health and Safety aspects of a material, and because it is constantly updated, may be more current than industry data. Can be tailored to specific geographic locations (USA, Canada, etc.).
SmartINI – A more concise version of the SmartSDS, but covering only the most critical information. Covers Transport information, Health Hazards, FireFighting, Spills, Disposal, PPE, and Incompatibilities of the material.
SmartER – Specifically for Emergency Response. Covers PPE, Extinguishing Media, DECON, NFPA 704 and UN Dangerous Goods, and Protective actions for SPILLS.
SmartCOBRA – Risk Assesment. User selects a chemical and enters various operating conditions, and the software develops a Risk Report

This is only a sample of some of the popular FREE resources out there in the Virtual World. Make sure that whatever tools you choose, that you have thoroughly learned how to manipulate them and are aware of their full capabilities PRIOR to going out the door. This will allow you to utilize them to their full potential, mitigate your Hazard, and return home safe!