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Big news on bombs.

If you have a phobia about bombs, then you don't want to be working in a large city in any of the ten western U.S. states (especially California) between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am on a Friday or Saturday night during the months of July or December. You will probably want to avoid going anywhere near New York City as well.

According to the head of the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) Bomb Squad, these have been the most popular times, days, months, and locations to blow up something or somebody. The findings are based on a review of approximately 10,000 bombs that were planted in the United States during the last ten years.

DPS also reported that the bombers' choice explosive device is the pipe bomb. It was used in approximately 80 percent of the cases. These no-hassle bombs are easy to make. All the materials required to build them are available at the friendly, neighborhood hardware store, and anyone who can use a wrench and take off a bicycle tire has the requisite skills.

Those of you who live in a small city or town should also be on guard. According to the DPS, the second largest amount of bombing activity occurred in cities with a population of 25,000 or fewer.

To plan for a bomb emergency, the Micro-Rel Division of Medtronic, Inc. of Tempe, Arizona, an electronics manufacturer, recently hosted a training seminar on explosives, bombs, and bomb threat calls. Its purpose was to update the facility's bomb threat emergency plan. The following facts emerged during that training class:

* The State of Arizona does not require a license or permit to purchase TNT, dynamite, blasting caps, detonator cord, or other explosives. Companies should find out what the laws are in states where they have facilities.

* The criminal bomber is responsible for 90 percent of the bombs found.

* Of all the bombs that were planted at businesses and corporations, 80 percent were placed outside the building (usually near the company sign), 18 percent were planted inside the building in common or public areas, and approximately 2 percent were in a specific person's office.

* It is hard to define what a bomb looks like. The investigator must focus on common components - wires, batteries, and containers - that don't belong in the area.

Most bomb threat training teaches trainees to turn off all portable radios so as to avoid triggering the potential bomb. This disables the communications system when it is needed most. The bomber, however, does not want to blow himself or herself up, nor does he or she want the bomb to detonate prematurely. The bomber will likely take steps to ensure that the bomb blows up only in accordance with the plan.

Security professionals need to have an up-to-date, practical, and tested emergency plan that takes the previously mentioned facts into consideration. When drafting an emergency plan, the security professional should design a separate plan specifically for bomb threats - not one that combines it with other emergency plans, such as those for fires and evacuation.

Keeping in mind that approximately 80 percent of the bombs planted at businesses and corporations during the last ten years were planted outside, the security manager should formulate company policy about when to evacuate and what evacuation routes to follow. The bomb threat emergency plan should also instruct security personnel to be on the lookout for suspects in or near proximate pay phones since most bomb threat calls are made from pay phones near the facility.

David R. Straton, CPP

Security Chief

Micro-Rel Division

Medtronic, Inc.

Tempe, Arizona

Note: For more information on bombs and bomb threats, call the ASIS Information Resources Center (IRC) and ask for the bibliography on the subject. The number is 703/522-5800. (The services of the IRC are only available to members of ASIS.)
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Arbetter, Lisa
Publication:Security Management
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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