Law and Order Magazine, August 2000
Download Column, pg.17


Computer-Based Training on...Bombs?

By Tim Dees


Like most police officers and probably most people, the majority of what I "know" about explosives comes from watching the movies and television, perhaps enhanced by a brief orientation to bomb incidents in the police academy.

In the academy class, the operative theme seemed to be "call the bomb squad," which seems like good advice even now. However, I confess to a lasting and somewhat morbid curiosity about explosive devices, one that could not be satisfied with any training short of bomb technician school. However, I was able to locate Craig Gundry's "Bomb Countermeasures for Security Professionals," a CD-ROM computer-based course and reference source that did a great job of filling in the blanks in a useful, yet entertaining way.

Explosive ordnance disposal--like dentistry, aviation, and alligator wrestling--is not a topic that should be learned from a book or computer, and the CD-ROM is clearly not trying to qualify its purchasers as bomb technicians (the author wished me to underscore that). The CD-ROM is intended primarily for security professionals who may encounter explosive devices in their work and could be asked to provide a risk assessment for handling an incident involving explosives. Police officers are often placed in this position, and the package is valuable for this reason.

By way of example, even knowing that most real-life bombs don't resemble the ones usually seen on television (with large red numerals that specify the precise number of seconds until detonation), I did wonder why simply cutting the wire between the power source and the explosive wouldn't eliminate the detonator, rendering the device harmless. Gundry's package explained this in a way that even I, famous for my lack of mechanical skills, could understand. (If you want to know, you'll either have to order the CD-ROM or ask your own bomb tech.)

The lessons on the CD-ROM include a history of the criminal uses of explosives and a review of common explosive types and methods; defenses and countermeasures for courier bombs, mail bombs, vehicle bombs, and weapons of mass destruction; bomb search techniques; design strategies for buildings to reduce the threat of bombs, and post-blast response techniques. Each lesson, and in fact each screen, is profusely illustrated with photos, drawings, diagrams, and animations that illustrate the subject matter. The program has excellent content, but is also a model of good computer-based instructional design.

Because the CD-ROM is self-contained, it represents an excellent value for cramped training budgets. Users can learn when they want and at the pace they want, pausing or going back to review at any time. Constructing an examination for documentation of training purposes would be an easy task for any training manager, even one unskilled in bomb countermeasures.* Demos or previews of the CD-ROM can be downloaded from their web site.


Tim Dees, a former police officer, writes and consults about applications of technology in law enforcement.


References:

Bomb Countermeasures for Security Professionals, v1.1
Palladium Media Group, Inc.
P.O. Box 76040
St. Petersburg, FL 33734
Tel. (727) 897-9600
e-mail: info@bombsecurity.com
http://www.bombsecurity.com


*A comprehensive test and controlled answer key is now included the new BCSP CD-ROM, v2.0.

 

The review on this page is reprinted with the permission of Hendon, Inc., publishers of Law and Order Magazine.
 

 

Bomb Countermeasures
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