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Bomb Basics: What Law Enforcement Needs to Know and Why

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 32 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2005 Pages: 8-12,14,16,17
Henry Morgenstern
Date Published
August 2005
8 pages
Intended for police officers who have not received the specialized training in explosives-handling required for bomb squad personnel, this article provides information on the variety of materials and techniques used to construct bombs, signs that a location has been used for bomb-making, and procedures for preventing and responding to bomb threats.
The article first explains the nature of any explosion and the basic elements that create it. This is followed by a listing of the various materials that can be used in making an explosive as well as explosive mixtures. Another section of the article addresses the detection of bomb-making and delivery activity. It notes that knowledge of the substance used in making bombs prepares officers to recognize signs of preparation for a bomb attack. Signs that a location may have been used to make an explosive are outlined. Steps to take when bomb-making activity is suspected are also described. The article concludes with a discussion of the upgrading of security plans and features for detecting explosives, preventing their placement in a specific area, and how to respond when suspicious packages or vehicles are observed. Facilities assessed to be at high risk for explosive attacks should be regularly examined for vulnerabilities and the upgrading of security procedures and technology. The article explains how to maintain blast distances between security fences/perimeters and key buildings. Security measures that should be taken are listed.