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A Challenge for the Bomb Squad

Explosive Technicians from around the world are participating in Raven’s Challenge. Its training exercises taking place at The New York State Preparedness Training Center.

Posted: Apr 10, 2019 6:15 PM

Materials that can be purchased legally, right over the counter, can be used to make a bomb. Raven’s Challenge Program Manager John Simpson says that’s just one of the many different types of bombs technicians have to know how to deal with before dealing with a real threat.

"We run every kind of scenario that you can imagine. From the most basic homemade explosive or pipe bomb type scenario, all the way to electronic componentry. A little bit more sophisticated precision aim type training. We cover the entire spectrum."

Is the threat bombings increasing in the US? The Assistant Director of the New York State Preparedness Training Center explained why these teams are training to cover the entire spectrum of explosive devices.

"It’s very, very easy to get these materials and equipment to make these devices. It’s not difficult. So I don’t know if it’s increasing, but it’s not going away."

That’s what’s on the minds of Bomb Technicians like David Bebout. "Bomb Technicians of course think about it each and every day. I’ve been doing this job for 20 plus years. Every time you go down range is… you’re thinking about the job that you’ve been trained to do."

In addition to having to deem a bomb safe, bomb technicians have to wear a suit, that weighs about 80 pounds, and if you think that’s a lot of weight on their shoulders, there’s one part of the country that deals with around 100 real explosive devices every year.
Bob Stallman tells us "Every call has to be considered a real bomb call, so yeah if they had 100 true devices, can you imagine how many they had that weren’t, and every one has to be treated exactly the same way."

Monroe County Sheriff’s Bomb Technician Christopher Schillaci tells us that’s why this training is so important, and when it comes to dealing with explosive devices…

"Really it’s all business. I mean you got to put all your emotions and things like that aside to get the job done and then once it’s over you can think about it. I probably won’t think about 100 of the things that I’ve done until I’m lying in bed when I’m 90 years old wondering, did that really happen?"

It’s because of this training we might all be able to make it to 90 years old.

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