1. #1
    Fireman Ry
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation Cell phones and radio use at incidents involving bombs

    It should probably be a good idea to start drilling it into people's heads that cell phone and/or radio use could trigger the detonation of a bomb. My department usually gets dispatched to about 3-5 bomb threats a year. The usual places are two high schools in the township, but recently, a Planned Parenthood got the ok to provide abortion services. It was actually discussed at a drill one night of the possibility of having the Planned Parenthood being a bomb target. One several bomb threat incidents, there were people walking around usuing their cell phone and the local police department using their radios while the incident is still going on. Emergency responders should be taught about the effects that a cell phone or a radio can have on such incidents.

    Ryan B.

  2. #2
    Kelly Tool
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Good point. Although it seems like some thing out of a movie it could happen, and we should be prepared for a worst case senario

    Put the wet stuff on the red stuff!
    Visit our Dept. Schodack Valley

  3. #3
    FF McDonald
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    ANything that transmits can possibly detonate an IED (Improvised Explosive Device)-- you never know what some of those fanatics out there have up their sleeve.

    Any of your radios can detonate the device, if they transmit on a frequency close enough to what is being used to detonate the device-- but also be wary of the press if they show up to your incident scene-- they too have two-way radios that they use to communicate with the network, and you may want to make it part of your SOP/SOG to have your PIO speak with them about turning their radios off. You might mention to them that it wouldn't look to good if the press detonated the device.

    As far as communications on the scene, you may be forced to use runners to ferry messages from point a to point b.

    Make sure you think of all the different forms of communication that use radio to transmit information: cell phones, MDT's, telemetry for ALS.....

    There's an awful lot out there to concern yourself with.

    Don't forget the secondary device!!!!!! Often the first device is only there to sucker in the police and fire department-- then the second device it detonated and it takes more casualties.


    The opinions presented here are my own, and not those of any organization that I belong to.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We use 300 ft minimum as radio/cell phone operating distance for handheld communications proximity to target occupancy. As FF McDonald stated so well, ALWAYS suspect secondary devices until proven otherwise by qualified EOD techs. The abortion clinic bombing pictured on CNN (I believe it was in Atlanta) illustrated the above fact all to well. Lastly, with the current trend in terrorism, watch out for WMD (chem/bio) agents involved in the device.
    Consider inviting your local EOD team to the station for a get-to-know-you/drill. The EOD techs can provide a great deal of information for your questions/concerns.

    [This message has been edited by hazmater (edited March 31, 2000).]

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    This is a very relevant issue when responding to such a threat. Fortunately, most of the devices that may be involved will react to frequencies that are either well below 800 MHz or above. So if you have an 800 system, you can breathe a little easier, however you are not 100% OK. The 300+ foot radius is a good idea.
    I have not spoken to the department, but have been advised that a deaprtment on the east coast requires their members to remove personal pagers, cell phones, radios, etc. before responding on a call. I would hate to see this be the new wave, but it may come to such.
    May we have to revert back to the bullhorn and hand signals? Doubt it, but close to the scene, we must consider alternate methods. The hardest part is controlling the public. How many of us have seen folks walking down the street or in the airport talking on the cell/digital phone like it is the only important thing on the Earth. I think some of them would forget to breathe because they are so attached.
    Anyway, my two cents worth. Watch for the secondaries, and stay safe!!

    Todd Dousa

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