Homemade Explosives: Current and Emerging Threats

Homemade explosives typically are made by combining an oxidizer with a fuel. Many of these materials are simple to make, requiring little technical expertise or specialized equipment. Instructions on how to make homemade explosives are available from many...


Homemade explosives typically are made by combining an oxidizer with a fuel. Many of these materials are simple to make, requiring little technical expertise or specialized equipment. Instructions on how to make homemade explosives are available from many sources, but the recipes are often...


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Responders and special teams must also be able to recognize the potential danger of booby traps and take appropriate measures to ensure their own safety and the safety of others. Booby traps, or anti-personnel devices (APDs), can be used as weapons against emergency responders. Those involved in drug trafficking or production use booby traps to protect their investments, serve as warning devices and to help allow their escape from a location. Typically, these devices will be discovered when conducting routine activities. Booby traps can be designed to be concealed or look like ordinary items.

Summary

Safety is paramount for responders at these types of events. Domestic and international terrorists and criminals are constantly improving their methods, so continuous responder training is important.

The more our public safety agencies prepare, the greater the chance they will effectively manage any type of situation that may arise. If an IED incident or explosives lab incident occurs in the United States, trained and educated responders can help lessen the impact with a safe and effective response.

Responder Actions

If you find yourself near a suspicious material or item, take these steps:

  • Call out to other response personnel to stop moving

  • Stop and look around for any other devices or suspicious items

  • Do not touch or move anything

  • Do not operate light, power or electrical switches

  • Keep other responders from coming over to look or take photos

  • Do not approach or handle the suspected device/materials once it is identified as a risk

  • Move out of the area the same way you entered by retracing your steps

  • Conduct personal accountability outside the danger area

  • Isolate and secure the area

  • Establish zones of control (hot, warm, cold)

  • Establish a command post and unified command

  • Shield yourself, other responders and the public

  • Call for a local or state bomb squad or hazardous device unit

  • Notify other proper authorities, depending on the jurisdiction and situation