Drill of the Week: Explosive Devices

Responding to incidents involving explosive devices is a very real possibility for any fire department. While the chances are most of us will never respond to this type of call, it is nonetheless critical that your department regularly review its SOPs for these responses with its members. And if your department doesn’t have any yet, now is the time to put some together. This week’s drill can help. Its objective is to familiarize each member with the SOPs for handling explosive devices. All participants of the drill will be made aware of the procedures to follow once a suspected explosive device has been reported.

This type of exercise requires coordination with the agency having jurisdiction over explosive device removal. Before holding the drill, meet with the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) representative to plan the drill. Review your SOPs (if any) for responding units with the EOD rep so any needed changes can be discussed at the drill. Arrange for a representative of that agency to make a presentation. Request the following:

  • A presentation on the SOPs for explosive device incidents;
  • Whether there is an opportunity to stage a mock incident as part of this drill to go through a dry run of the stating and communications procedures;
  • That the representative be prepared to discuss recent incidents and to demonstrate some equipment used by the explosive devices team.

Hold a meeting with the team representative to establish any special needs he has for the drill. If the drill is to include a mock incident, prepare flyers and publicity announcements to advise the public that it is a drill. If the agency representative is from a military team, invite local law enforcement agencies to participate.

Use the debriefing period after the drill to prepare a written SOP if your department doesn’t already have one. Prepare a separate page of instructions for each fire department unit that includes the following:

  • Procedures for responding,
  • What to do on arrival at the staging area,
  • The responsibilities of the unit during an incident,
  • The communications procedures during an incident,
  • Instructions for when and how to proceed to the hot zone in case of a detonation, and
  • Procedures for release from the staging area.

The instructions for each unit should be typed in bold letters, placed in a plastic sheet protector, and included in the preplan book for each apparatus.

At the drill’s conclusion, discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what should be done differently the next time.

If you have a similar drill idea and wish to share it, please e-mail: chrism@pennwell.com.

To review training officer and safety officer considerations, visit http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=OnlineArticles&SubSection=HOME&PUBLICATION_ID=25&ARTICLE_ID=202453 to review training officer and safety officer considerations.

For more information on this drill, including a list of references, visit http://store.yahoo.com/pennwell/voltraindril.html to purchase Volunteer Training Drills–A Year of Weekly Drills.

Next week’s drill: Arson Investigation

FireEngineering.com Drill of the Week Archive

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