Thursday, May 14, 2009

Conference Notes (Part 2 of 7) Bombs

A bomb expert gave a very interesting presentation at the conference. Here's some of the highlights:
  • The most common type of bomb is the IED (improvised explosive device). The reason? The components can be easily purchased at your local store and recipes and/or instructions for manufacture are easily available online.
  • Explosive devices include "pipe bombs", illegal fireworks, flash powder devices, modified grenades, and chemical explosives.
  • Manufacturing and/or using an illegal explosive device is a class A felony.
  • Bomb squad members absolutely hate it when people pick up what they think may be a bomb, put it in their car, drive it to the police station, and set it on the counter. Don't do this. If you run across what you think may be an explosive device, don't touch it. Clear the area, call 911, and wait for the bomb squad to do their thing.
  • This expert warned against using a "Bomb blanket" a device that can be put over a suspected IED in order to help contain the blast. First, the person who chooses to do this is putting themselves at risk, and second, it makes it harder for the bomb squad to evaluate the device.
  • When a bomb goes off in a crowded area, it will most likely start raining body parts. Unless you are actively saving a life, leave the bodies and body parts alone until an investigation can be completed.
  • Anyone (and all bodies) impacted at a bomb scene should be x rayed.
  • Beware of scenes where a bombing has taken place--multiple devices may be detonated to add to the carnage and confusion.
  • At a suspected bomb scene, all radios, cell phones, and other electronic devices need to be turned off to avoid inadvertently detonating the device.
  • Unless you are an expert, don't try to diffuse a bomb yourself. That's just plain dumb.
  • Pay attention to what your kids and others in your household are doing. Many a bomb maker has created these devices in their own homes (stupid and definitely not safe) while everyone else was completely unaware of what they were doing.
  • Some things that may suggest you are receiving a letter bomb or anthrax letter: unexpected letter or parcel, missing or incomplete return address, misspellings, excessive amount of postage, inability to contact the person who sent the package/letter to you, unusual smell, staining, or grease/wetness on package, return address and postal cancellation stamp don't match.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. IEDs are often camouflaged to blend into their surroundings. On the other hand, many IEDs are left in the potential bombing area and they clearly "don't look right." Who would leave a briefcase in the middle of the road? Why would a shopping bag be left in an industrial area?
  • You don't want yourself or your staff to wonder about what to do should a bomb threat be called in. Have a bomb threat checklist kept by all phones and also have a bomb threat policy in place.
Some excellent resources:

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