Utah's Personal Protection Laboratory




Friday, April 1, 2016

On Bombs

Tomorrow's Polite Society event will discuss Bomb situations.  I wanted to share some old discussion notes from the event held shortly after the Boston Marathon incident.

These are rough Polite Society Discussion notes. 



Bombs are the weapons of choice among terrorists worldwide
** this is not intended as instruction of any kind.  This is intended as a topic for discussion
·       Bomb Appearance
o   Not obvious
o   Bombs can look like or be concealed in ANYTHING 
o   In one bomb class a bomb was concealed it in a flowerpot with a live plant covering it.  It triggered with a motion detector that detonated the bomb when someone came within feet of the flowerpot. 
o   If the terrorist wants you blown up badly enough, he’ll succeed and you’ll never know what hit you.

·       Bomber Appearance Here’s what to look for:
o    Clothing that is bulky or excessive for the weather (to hide the bomb)
o    Hands hidden (possibly holding the switch to detonate the bomb) Glove?!!!
o    A strange chemical odor or excessive cologne to cover up that smell
o   The bomber focused, but unresponsive. 
§  Suicide bombers often have the “1000 yard stare”
§  usually  unresponsive to  questions or commands
o   Heavy luggage or backpacks that don’t fit the situation. 
§  The average weight of a bomb used by a suicide bomber is around 20 lbs.
§  The Madrid train bombers all had very heavy backpacks. 
§  The Moscow bomber placed his bomb in a rolling suitcase. 
§  Not all the bombers wear their bombs.
o    Nervousness, excessive sweating, or repeated mumbling of a prayer or mantra
o   Exposed wires anywhere on a person’s body
o    Repeated attempts to avoid security checkpoints and/or police officers

·        Beware of any suspicious packages. 
o   The bomber might not be a suicide bomber.  He or she might plant the bomb and walk/drive away. 
o   If the bomb is not worn by a terrorist, it is most likely:
§   hidden in a car,
§  discarded backpack
§  duffel bag
§  trash can.








·        What should you do:
o   GET AWAY! 
§  Time  
§  distance
§  shielding
o   20lb suicide bomb vest loaded with shrapnel is
§  Dangerous within 400 meters!  
§  15 meters (50 feet) is the distance between  life and death in most suicide bombings 
·         If you are within 15 meters of the bomber when he detonates, you will likely die. 
·          If you are beyond 15 meters, you will likely live, but be seriously injured. 
o   Whether you live or die depends:
§   terrain
§  type of bomb
§  shrapnel
§  how far away from the bomb you are
§  Ideally, distance combined with some type of cover that will stop shrapnel and projectiles is best. 
o   For the 500kg Oslo car bomb, people were likely hit by shrapnel up to 1/2 mile away!
o   Primary objective is to get yourself and loved ones as far away from the bomber as possible. 
o   Once you’ve made it to safety, report the person to police. 
o   Don’t hang around in the kill zone looking for a policeman.

·        If you are armed with a firearm, should you shoot the bomber? 
o   If you are right about your guess and kill the bomber before he detonates, you will be a hero. 
o   If you are wrong you will be either blown up or arrested. 
o   If you decide to shoot the bomber, expect to die. 
§  Remember that danger zone of 400 meters I talked about earlier? 
§  How many of you can make a headshot at 400 meters with your concealed carry pistol? 
§   If you can’t, you are in the kill zone. 
§  If the bomber detonates you will be seriously injured or killed. 
§  By definition, if you are close enough to take a shot, you are going to be within range of the bomb’s blast.   

o   If you do shoot the bomber, you must go for a head shot. 
§  If he is wearing a bomb vest, your bullet will likely detonate the bomb if you hit it. 
§  Even if you instantly incapacitate the bomber with a brain stem shot, the bomb still may detonate. 
·         Timer
·         Command detonated by another person watching discreetly from afar
·          “dead man switch”
·         Your bullet could cause it to blow. 
·         The possibilities are endless. 
§  You don’t know how the bomb is set to go off. 
§  If you engage you have to expect to be blown up.

o   You need to decide what you are going to do BEFORE it happens
§  Study the subject and make your decision now. 
§  You won’t have time to consider all the variables in the heat of the moment.


·       After the Engagement or Detonation
o   Often terrorist bomber have “handlers”, “dispatchers”,  or security people assigned to them. 
§  The role of these people is to protect the bomber in case anyone intervenes or to detonate the bomb if the terrorist gets cold feet. 
§  Scan for anyone who appears to be paying undue attention to the situation, especially if that person is behind some type of cover or at a discreet distance away. 
§  If you choose to shoot, you may be in a fight with more than just the bomber!
·        Russia airport bombing
o   3-5 people / suitcase bombs
o   Some reports are stating that the actual bomber was a female and she had a male accomplice at her side to appear less conspicuous
·        Oslo
o   1 person / car bomb
·        Boston
o   2 ???
o   When deciding to take the shot, not only are you dealing with a bomb, but you may have to fight five other people as well.
§  Likely have guns. 
§  Likely that they  provide extra security in case the bomber was discovered
§  Look for people watching who are not scared or stunned  or on cell phones.
§  Be cautious of people in uniforms. 
·         The Oslo bomber facilitated his later shooting by wearing a police uniform and ordering the kids to approach him
·         Watch for people telling you to do what doesn’t seem safe dressed in:
o   fake police,
o   security,
o   fire department uniforms telling you to do what doesn’t seem safe. 
·         Use your common sense and flee if you think it’s a ruse. 
·         Get to know what all of the police uniforms in your area look
·         Befriend a law enforcement member before hand,  get to know them 
o    If you shoot the bomber, or even if you just see the bomber blow up, do not approach the body! 
§  Another bomb planted on body,
§   Primary bomb is on a time delay
§  Command detonated by another person. 
o    Keep far away! 
o   Try to get everyone else away too. 
o   Move quickly to cover after you shoot or he blows up.
o   Resist the temptation to open any potential bomb to see what it is. 
§  Russian bomb was triggered by the act of the bomber opening the suitcase. 
§  If you think it’s a bomb, then treat it like a bomb! 
§  Get away and get to cover!
o   Beware of the secondary device.
§  Bombers can use more than one bomb. 
§  The original bomb is just designed to create havoc and bring in first responders. 
§  A second bomb placed in
·         an evacuation zone
·         obvious command post staging area
·         near the body designed to injure more people, specifically fire and police officers.


o   After one bomb goes off, look for items that seem out of place…
§  Discarded baggage
§  Backpacks
§  Strange pieces of trash
§   Recently disturbed ground. 
o   NEVER EVACUATE TO A PARKING LOT!
§  Cars are the easiest place to hide large amounts of explosive for a secondary device. 
§  One very common tactic is to place a small bomb in or near a building or public area.
§  The terrorist knows that the small bomb will trigger an evacuation. 
§  He will then place a bigger bomb at the evacuation site to blow up all of the evacuees. 
§  It’s easy to hide a (big) bomb in a car. 
§  Get far away from anything that may conceal a secondary device

·       Medical Care
o   You will likely see deaths and serious injuries. 
§  Expect to see serious bleeding
§  hearing loss, confusion,
§  head injuries internal injuries
§  victims not be able to walk or hear you.
o   Expect that and don’t be stunned. 
o   Act! 
§  There are several videos of the immediate post blast of the Oslo bombing. 
§  People staggering around dazed and unsure of what to do.  Don’t be one of those people.  Expect to see serious bleeding, 
o   This is one time when laying injured persons down to prevent spinal injury is counterproductive.
§   Move the injured AWAY from the bomber or bombing area as quickly as possible
§  There may be a secondary device in the area. 
§  C-spine stabilization won’t matter if the injured person is laying on top of another bomb
§  Bombing victims seldom have the types of injuries that are aggravated by movement. 
§  Get the injured to a safe place so that they aren’t blown up again!
o   Establish a casualty collection point behind some hard cover in an area that is as far away from the original bomb as possible. 
§  Clear this area of secondary devices before unloading casualties. 
§  It may take a while for EMS to enter the scene. 
§  Be prepared to treat life threatening bleeding first
·         Know how to make or use a pressure bandage and a tourniquet
·         Follow up with airway and breathing stabilization and other injuries. 
·         Take a few minutes to get online and review first aid for
o   Penetrating trauma,
o   Burns,
o   Head injuries. 
o   Improvised bandages and tourniquets. 
o   In every terrorist bombing, there  have been lives saved because bystanders have known some basic medical skills and have acted quickly