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Latest bomb disposal technology revives Rawalpindi's Civil Defence.

Byline: Aamir Yasin

Established in 1956 under the 1952 Civil Defence Act, Rawalpindi's Civil Defence Department was formed to provide support to civilians in times of war and during natural disasters.

The organisation began its work with just a few members of staff, but eventually grew to have more than 700 volunteers across the city. It played an active role in the 1965 and 1971 wars, but as time passed its role became limited to checking fire safety measures in commercial buildings, providing disaster training to people through its large volunteer network and informing people of flooding.

A bomb disposal vehicle equipped with the latest technology. Photos by Tanveer Shahzad

In the last few years, however, the department's bomb disposal squad (BDS) has received new technology to deal with emergency situations.

Civil Defence Officer Talib Hussain told Dawn the organisation has received equipment from the European Union, United States and Canada, and has set up a control room with the latest technology.

'The first central explosive material and bomb disposal control room was established in Rawalpindi with the latest equipment donated by the EU,' he said.

This robot is able to detect and defuse live bombs, and can also help people trapped in fire and smoke.

He said the Rs2.5 million control room can be turned into a combined control and report centre in war time, to obtain information on the movement of enemy aircraft and warn people in city areas to make arrangements for any untoward situation.

The control room is equipped with X-ray machines and even a bomb detection and defusing robot, which can also help people trapped in fire or smoke. The robot is operated through a laptop computer and is effective within a two kilometre radius. Mr Hussain said the unit can also operate underwater, and amid fire or smoke.

A scanner and X-ray machine used to detect explosive material or bombs, operated using a laptop computer.

He added that new kits have been donated which are bomb and bulletproof. These kits are equipped with video surveillance technology that can operate in the dark and can be used to defuse all kinds of manually and electronically operate bombs, including time bombs. They can also be used to defuse rockets after they have been moved to a safe location.

The department has also received a new bomb disposal vehicle equipped with a robotic bomb disposal hand, bomb disposal protection suit, X-ray machine, toolkits, a bomb blast suppression blanket and cameras.

A bomb disposal squad technician wears a special suit used to defuse live bombs.

'The bomb blast suppression blanket is used to suppress blast fragmentation, including ball bearings and other injurious material from an explosion that can cause loss of life or public or private property damage,' he said.

The organisation also has a large network of volunteers, he said, that can assist during war time and peace time.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Feb 17, 2019
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