First Responder: Suspicious packages

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First Responder: Suspicious packages

Greek Police Defuse Citibank Explosive

WashingtonTimes (03/29/99) P. A15

“Greek police defused a bomb outside an Athens Citibank branch Sunday after a warning was sent to a local television station. The incident was the third of its kind in a week; two bombs were found in front of Citibank branches on March 21– one was defused, and the other exploded, causing no injuries.”

An inordinate number of possible bomb incidents are dangerously and inadequately handled by first responding officers and security personnel, who typically lack training in dealing with suspect packages.

Following a surge of domestic and foreign bombings, however, we would encourage all security personnel to step up bomb threat response training. Experts say that those who respond should assume that the device could detonate at any time and for any (or no) reason. Therefore, it is imperative that no untrained person touch the suspect package. As much initial information as possible should be accessed from a distance.

In evacuating the area, security officers should set a perimeter according to the size of the package and relative to dangerous material in the surrounding area: chemicals, gases, utility hook ups, projectiles such as glass, etc. If there is reason to believe that an unknown container is suspect, the police should be called. If it turns out that the package is not dangerous, there is no need for professional embarrassment (although there might be need to review access and package-receipt procedures). As we were told in a class hosted by the Palm Beach Sheriff’s office, the bomb squad would rather be repeatedly awakened for no reason at3 AM than to be scraping body parts off a wall….

In a later issue we will discuss dealing with bomb threats, and handling incoming packages and mail.

More Resources:

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Training Kit

Survey of Commercially Available Explosives Detection Technologies and Equipment, September 1998 (Adobe Acrobat File, ASCII Text File)

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