Fire/EMS Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices Response

If your agency received a report about a possible "car bombing" incident or suspicous vehicle how would you respond, do you take it seriously, how do you evacuate your entire downtown if the suspected vehicle is located there?


Public safety agencies must recognize the fact that there are active domestic and international threat groups/individuals that are willing to design and use VBIEDs against the public and first responders. One important note to remember is that there are active hate groups and extremists located in all 50 states and most countries around the Globe. PREPERATION is the key to a VBIED/IED incident and that includes a clear idea of your actions before the incident occurs. The first step in your preparation is providing proper training to all response personnel. This should include an awareness of the hazards associated with IEDs/VBIEDs and suspected IEDs/VBIEDs and the proper steps for the responder to take. I have tried to provide some points of contact and links below that can help with your training needs. If your agency is interested in specific training reference suicide bombers or VBIEDs please feel free to contact me at the e-mail address below.

If there is a local "Bomb Squad" or Hazardous Devices unit in your jurisdiction contact them to ask for assistance with your training and planning. Most bomb technicians should be willing to provide your agency with training on their procedures and equipment since they will require your support (Fire/EMS) during an actual incident.

Another important training lesson learned in Iraq is the importance of "Tactical Medics". There is certainly a demand for tactical medics in the United States. Tactical medics are great assets to any agency or special teams on "Critical Incident" responses (barricaded subjects, civil unrest, VIP escorts, meth lab responses, etc.) These medics have received additional training in multiple subjects such as law enforcement operations, firearms use and safing,remote site medical care, preventive medicine, tactics, ballistic injuries, etc. It is important that every jurisdiction have a trained and equipped tactical medic team at their disposal. One excellent resource for additional information on tactical medicine and "real world" tactical medic training is

Another excellent training resource in the United States for First Responders is the the Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings (IRTB) course located in Soccoro, New Mexico. The course is funded through the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This course provides the first responder with a tremendous amount of information regarding planning for and responding to IED or terrorist events. The student will be able to personally witness actual live explosive events ranging from a small PVC pipe bomb to a large 500 pound car bomb. Course also allows the student to return to their respective agency and provide awareness level training. I attended the IRTB course in 2003 and it is certainly worth a week of your time. For additional information please see

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. Please follow all local procedures and guidelines when responding to these types of events. The world has drastically changed and will continue to do so. The information presented here is intended to help agencies with planning and training efforts. The community has entrusted us with their safety so we must prepare now. Remember to STAY ALERT and STAY SAFE!

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August Vernon is currently a US DOD (Department of Defense) Security Contractor serving in Iraq since July, 2004. He served with Emergency Management from 2000 to 2004 and the Fire Service since 1990. Currently a North Carolina Fire Service Instructor, Vernon served as a Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) Operations Specialist with the US Army from 1991-1995. He teaches courses in Terrorism/WMD Response and has written articles published in various national publications. August can be reached reference questions, comments or training at