Terrorists frequently use explosive devices as one of the most common weapons. It is not hard for a terrorist or anyone to find the information or supplies to make and explosive device. Many hardware, and auto supply shops have the necessary supplies available and information on making different devices are available in books and on  the web.Explosives are highly portable and easily detonated from remote locations.

An Explosion is caused by the sudden chemical conversion of a solid or liquid into gas with resultant energy release. Explosive devices are categorized as either High-order Explosives( HE) such as C4 and TNT or Low- order( LE) such as pipe bombs, gun powder, and Molotov cocktails. HE detonation involves supersonic, instantaneous transformation of the solid or liquid into a gas occupying the same physical space under extremely high pressure. these high pressure gasses rapidly expand outward in all directions from their point of formation as an over pressure blast wave. The extent of injuries produced by an explosion are determined by several factors:

  • Amount and composition of explosive material
  • Method of delivery
  • Distance between victims and the blast
  • The setting(open or closed space, structural collapse)
  • Other Accompanying environmental conditions

Related Injuries

Primary blast injuries result from HE detonations and the impact of the blast wave. Damage occurs mainly to the gas containing organs( lungs, ears, gastrointestinal tract)

Secondary blast injuries result from penetrating and blunt trauma caused by fragments and flying objects striking the victim

Tertiary blast injuries include blunt and penetrating trauma cause by displacement of the victim( E.G. being thrown against a wall)

Quaternary blast injuries are other injuries resulting from detonation of an explosive device and exacerbation of chronic diseases resulting from the blast. This includes burns, crush injuries, and toxic inhalants from components of the device


Protective measures

If you receive a telephone threat regarding a bomb you should:

Get as much information as you can from the caller if possible

Where is the bomb? What will cause it to detonate? What time will it go off? What does the bomb look like?Who are they? Why are they doing this? Did they place the bomb?

Keep the caller on the line and record everything that is said.

Notify police and building management.

Suspicious Packages/ Envelopes

Take precautions with packages that are:

Unexpected of from someone unfamiliar

Have no return address, or have one that can’t be verified as legitimate

Are marked with restrictive endorsements such as ” personal”, ” confidential”, or ” do not x-ray”

Have protruding wires or aluminum foil, strange odors, or stains

Show a city or state in the postmark that doesn’t match the return address

Are of unusual weight given their size, or are lopsided or oddly shaped

Are marked with threatening language

Have inappropriate or unusual labeling

Have excessive postage or packaging material, such as masking tape and string

Have misspellings of common words

Are addressed to someone no longer with your organization or are otherwise outdated

Have incorrect titles or titles without a name

Are not addressed to a specific person

Have hand written or poorly typed addresses

Refrain from eating or drinking in a designated mail handling area

Never sniff or smell suspect mail

Put suspicious letters or packages in plastic bag or container to prevent leakage

or cover with anything available

If you find a something leave the room close the door and seal off the area. Wash hands with soap and water to prevent spreading powder to face.

Make sure to report the incident immediately. Make sure to give a list of anyone in the area when the letter or package was recognized and give the list to the public health authorities and law enforcement.

If there is an explosion, you should;

Get under a sturdy table or desk if things are falling around you. When they stop falling, leave quickly watch for obviously weakened floors and stairways. Watch for falling debris when exiting the building.

Leave the building as quickly as possible. Do not stop to gather personal possessions or make phone calls

Do not use elevators

Once out of the building

Do not stand near windows, glass doors or other potentially hazardous areas

Move away from sidewalks and streets to be used by emergency officials or others exiting the area

If trapped in debris:

If possible use a flashlight to signal your location

Avoid unnecessary movement to prevent kicking up dust

Cover your nose and mouth with anything you have.

Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can hear where you are. Avoid yelling to save energy, shouting can also cause someone to inhale dangerous amounts of dust. If possible use a whistle to signal. A whistle is much loader than you can yell and uses much less effort.

Other things you should consider in a terrorist event:

Secondary Explosions

Secondary explosive devices are bombs placed at the scene of an ongoing emergency response that are intended to cause causalities among responders. These devices are designed to explode after a primary explosions or other major emergency response event that has attracted a large number of responders to the scene. SEs are usually hidden out of view camouflaged by placing the devices in ordinary objects. They can be detonated by time delay or radio controlled devices and cell phones.


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