1. #1
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    Default Bomb Threat Response

    My department responded to a credible bomb threat yesterday (a suspicious package left on a desk) at a local bank. Being a small resort community, we haven't had to deal with this much. Our response went well, and the package was "mitigated" by an EOD unit.

    What I would like are some suggestions, SOG/SOPs, etc., so we can develop a response plan so we'll be ready for next time. We can only depend on luck for so long!

    Thanks!
    Capt. K

  2. #2
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    Point the police towards the scene and stage way over there....
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  3. #3
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    There is a rather lengthy thread...from May 2002, discussing just such incidents. As you may recall, someone was placing bombs in people's rural mailboxes. The criminal was caught...but the discussion here raged on for a long time...due to the photo that was published from one such incident. I've reposted the image below, along with a link to the old thread.



    This is NOT the way to check for bombs. It is a law enforcement function! Firefighters should never be subjected to having to search for suspected bombs...unless they have the equipment and specific training. Stay clear, provide engines, ladders, hoselines....but leave the work to the professionals!

    The caption:

    Earlville, Iowa, volunteer firefighter Leon Hildebrand keeps his distance while opening a rural mailbox with a wooden pole on May 4. Fire departments throughout the county checked boxes after the mailbox bombings in Iowa and Illinois the day before.
    (AP/Harry Baumert/Des Moines Register)
    The thread
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  4. #4
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    Stage one block away and let the PD search the building.
    Resident Chaplain of the IACOJ

  5. #5
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    We are not trained in the recognition and mitigation of hazardous devices. The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS) Hazardous Devices Unit (the "politically correct" name for the bomb squad) handles theremoval and disposal of such items.

    A bomb threat is handled by the PD. They go in to investigate.

    Our response is to stage at least 1000 feet way. If the device goes off, then it is our problem.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    This is a no brainer!!!

    It is a police situation and not fire department.

    Stage the companies and members at least a block from where the bomb is supposed to be located and let the police members handle this.

    The last time I read any firefighter job description, it didn't say any thing about bomb removal.


    Be safe and use your heads for something else than to put a helmet on!



  7. #7
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    This is taken directly from our SOG book

    1.All units respond non emergent to station

    2.All units stand by at the respective station until an all clear is given by police officials on the scene. (THIS IS A POLICE MATTER UNTIL IT BLOWS UP)

    3. fire personnel can assist in evacuation, searching, and crowd control.

    Communications
    No type of radio transmissions will be used within one mile of the location of the threat, including radios, cell phones, radios are ok if not on the scene of the threat.
    Ryan

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  8. #8
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    Explosives have a velocity of 20,000 feet per second +.

    Stage away with ADEQUATE COVER!!!

    In other words a plate glass window or a bush does jack when its time to stop shrapnell moving thousands of feet per second.

    Vehicles are minimum, concrete is better.

    Your PPE does jack against explosives, but keep it on anyway.

    Also, dont be standing up looking at the device. There is no way you can duck/react fast enough to avoid getting smaked.

    Keep behind COVER!!!

    If you have to look, have your eye protection in place and make it quick.

    If it goes boom, keep an eye out after the boom. Stuff can go WAY up in the air...
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  9. #9
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    In my neighborhood, bombs are a fire department function. The Little Rock Fire Department (directly across the Arkansas River from us) operates a bomb squad unit 24/7.

    Our most recent bomb scare came during an apartment fire in May when firefighters found a VERY suspicious device. Fortunately, we had Little Rock FD on scene as mutual aid. They had their bomb squad enroute but one of their techs was already on scene as he was riding with one of the companies that responded to the fire. He determined the device to be fake and the squad was cancelled.

    The bottom line... never do something you're not trained to do. If there is no bomb squad in your area, evacuate, stand back and wait until the nearest agency can arrive.

  10. #10
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    I appreciate the input.

    I agree, in our jurisdiction bombs ARE NOT the fire department's responsibility, and we don't want them to be.

    The information as to non-emrgent response, staging areas based on descriptions/recommendation of EOD, etc., is what I'm after. One of our concerns was for the health of the EOD tech in the high heat and humidity.

    And, yes, I know if all else fails or is forgotten to use the "rule of thumb"...backup far enough to block sight of the scene with my thumb!!:
    Capt. K

  11. #11
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    In terms of searching for a bomb, the best person is the person who works in the area as they are familiar with what is and isn't "normal".

    With regards to our role- nothing! (Not until it goes bang and creates a fire)

    Here in Oz, it's the Police who are responsible for bombs and suspiscious packages.
    Luke

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    The most important action you should take during a bomb threat is the evacuation and the closing of the hot zone. Once again it comes down to the priorities of emergency services. Life then property. And this is obviouslly more threatening to life and property will just have to wait. Then once you have done that, contacting a service that can eliminate the problem. Like someone posted, firefighters, without the proper training, should never be responsible for removing any type of device.

  13. #13
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    Back in the mid 90's all the schools in the are recieved a whole series of phoned in bomb threats. Our FD, would stage away from the scene and PD would take care of it, they staged and waited in case something happened. Luckily they were all false threats, done by someone who worked for the schools who did not want to go to work those days.
    JLS
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    IACOJ

  14. #14
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    lutan hits a very important point.

    Picture your house. If I walked in your house, how in the hell would I know what is out of place? You would probably know every item in there. If I placed a foreign object in there, you would know in a heartbeat.

    If you are involved in preplanning with large occupancies, tell them to have everyone take a quick, non-invasive look around the area that they control before they leave. Also tell them to look around as they are leaving. They should report any item that they cannot account for to the authorities. It is the quickest, most efficient way to search.

    BTW, "If you can see the bomb, the bomb can see you". (From Ack, the best bomb tech I have never known).

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