Bomb technicians learn how to eliminate the threat

Updated: Jun. 20, 2016 at 12:28 PM CDT
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(Source: Team Redstone PAO Chris Colster)
(Source: Team Redstone PAO Chris Colster)
(Source: Team Redstone PAO Chris Colster)
(Source: Team Redstone PAO Chris Colster)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - We've taken a close look at the steps to become a certified bomb technician. First, the bomb suit; and how it is the one thing in between you and the potentially explosive device. Then, the robot; which saves lives by disarming bombs at a safe distance from people.

They also learn how to get rid of those dangerous devices and eliminate the threat. In the second week of training at FBI Hazardous Devices School on Redstone Arsenal, bomb technicians learn how to do demolition operations.

"Part of getting rid of the IEDs, is they have to know how to get rid of them, so how to destroy them," said Bruce Tebben, a physical security specialist/explosive operations at FBI HDS.

An IED, or improvised explosive device, can range from a pipe bomb to a pressure cooker.

"It's a worldwide knowledge base throughout the intelligence community also is that IEDs it what the terrorists are going to use," said Jeff Warren, the FBI HDS Director.

All the more reason to know how to disarm them. Students, like Thurston Voisine, who graduated from HDS, start this learning process in the classroom.

"A lot of electricity, how to work our X-rays, how to work the pan and then several different ways to get into the package. Then see how we can separate and analyze it. Once we have the package and make it safe, then how do we get rid of that explosive," said Voisine, who graduated from FBI HDS and works at the police dept. in Parma, Ohio.

Then they take that knowledge onto the field. Phillip Quillen is an instructor at HDS and an explosive operations specialist. He brought out two hand-made,
fake devices to show how the technicians tried to disarm them with different techniques. "With this, we've got the push, and we can see that push with this piece. We actually opened it, yet we didn't defeat the circuit with this. So this would have been a failure," said Quillen.

Finding the best disruption tool for the job is critical.

"This one right here, we've got a lot of pushing and heaving of the target and it did some tumbling but the circuit was able to be defeated. We would have gotten a good hit on this and could have defeated it safely," said Quillen.

"Our whole job as law enforcement is to save public and save lives. It gives us an ability and foundation to know what we need to do to look at something and make sure we come out with outcome of protecting life and protecting property," said Voisine.

After graduating from the 6-week course, public safety bomb technicians go through more advanced classes and, every 3 years, get re-certified. They can only get that by coming back to FBI HDS.

This year, the school is in transition to be solely lead by the FBI and expanding so they can give bomb technicians the best training possible to defend our nation.

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