Friday, October 3, 2014

Breach, Baby - An Explosive Way to Get Your Hero into the Building: Information for Writers


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GREM breach
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This article is based on my experience at the Writer's Police Academy 2014 and was instructed by Cpt. Randy Shepherd. Cpt. Shepherd serves as the Division Commander of the Pesonnel and Training Division. He is the Assistant Team Commander  of Guilford County Sheriff's Emergency Response Team (S.E.R.T.) and team Commander of the Mobile Unit. He's my sniper of choice if I were ever in dire straits. You can read more about Cpt. Shepherd's sniping HERE

There are times when it is imperative to write your heroes into a fortified building fast. And the way to do it is not to knock politely at the door.

Some ways to enter a building (interior or exterior doors):
1. Knock
2. Mechanical breach - such as lock picking
3. Ballistic breach - uses a projectile to open the lock such as
    shooting the locking system.
4. Thermal breach - cutting through with a blow torch
5. Water breach - using water to cut. This is used when there is the
    possibility that a spark would explode the building.
6. Ram
7. Explosive Breach

Why would your hero need to use an explosive breach?
1. The door is barricaded (such as 2x4s on brackets)
2. There are multiple locking systems
3. Tactical considerations including:
   `history with this suspect
   `situation - such as hostages
   `intel from an informant

Other considerations:
1. They decide on the threat matrix - for example an explosive
     breach puts children at a higher risk.
2. What is going on inside of the building? Using an explosive
    breach would be a no-no for example in a meth lab.

An explosive breach uses the normal eight-person team. They are dressed like any SWAT team with protective gear including helmets, protective plating, and Kevlar shields.

When the commander has determined that they will go in and that they will need to do an explosive breach, they lay the explosives. In this case they used 100gram detonation cord with C4 which is very stable (AKA detonation cord, detacord, det. cord, detcord, primer cord).


English: A U.S. Marine Corps explosive ordnanc...
A U.S. Marine Corps explosive ordnance disposal technician prepares a reinforced detonation cord filled with Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN) for a simulated aerial assault at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Aug. 30, 2010. PETN is a stable explosive and is detonated by shockwave or heat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It sticks to the inside of the door. The door jam and the hinges are the weak points. The bad guys will fortify the locking side of the door and leave the hinge-side less protected.

They attach 2 blasting caps. That way if the first fails they are not endangered while placing more blasting caps. Why might a blasting cap fail? Perhaps it wasn't attached correctly. If the second blasting cap fails they call it a "fail breach" and they move to a second entrance that was already predetermined.


US Navy 090306-N-7130B-308 Armed Forces of the...
US Navy Armed Forces attach blasting caps to detonation cord before conducting a controlled demolition of live ordnance  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


They do not only go through a door - sometimes they go through the wall - but it's good to have intel so your hole doesn't end up somehwere difficult like behind the refrigerator.

They will run the fuse to a safe distance.

* First they check to see if the door is locked.
* The commander yells "breacher up"
* Breacher says: 
  "I have control"
  "Breach 3...2...1..."
   When it doesn't work, "Fail breach."

When it does work there is a LOUD explosion.

I was sitting about fifty yards from the explosion. I felt the concussion cross my chest like three narrow waves of air. It raised the hair on my arm. My ears had a mild ring. But, actually feeling the concussive waves was very astonishing.


Hope this was helpful in getting your hero safely into the building, now find the heroine and save the day! Happy plotting.


Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.


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