Showing posts with label Kevlar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kevlar. Show all posts

Friday, October 3, 2014

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


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.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bomb Squads 101 Information for Writers


English: Training with bomb robot 1
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We watched the monitor closely; the robot stood flush with the case. A pincer reached out to twirl the locking system, using the combination that I had uncovered while behind the Veil. The mechanical arm moved with amazing dexterity, slowly releasing the catch, retrieving the papers and files. Axel wiggled the toggle and the robot zipped back to us with the booty. Again Axel maneuvered the machine to the case. The robot sent a video image to our laptop; I studied the screen until I could show Axel where the concealed latch protected the hidden compartment. We all held our breath while Axel maneuvered the motorized claw to release the hook. 

The following information was gathered from bomb squad members that I met at this year's Writers' Police Academy. Because of their undercover work, neither their names nor images can be used in this article. A bomb squad member is also called an EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) Technician. All EOD Techs come through the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama where they undergo an intensive 6 week training session.
* There are at least two people per responding team.
* Typically this team prefers nine members
* On this team, the EOD techs have other police duties and leave those duties to respond to bomb threats.

The Suit

Bomb Protective Suit is a little bit of a misnomer. Though it can help; it will not actually keep someone alive under all circumstances. What makes a difference in survivability?
* How close is the officer?
* How big is the blast? The concussion of the blast can be as deadly as the shrapnel.
* At five feet from the bomb survivability increases by 50%

I am all suited up at the Writers' Police Academy 2013

I'd explain this to you, but then I'd...  EOD Suit WPA 2013

 VIDEO QUICK STUDY - suit and safety features (2:54)

*Is made of various materials including Kevlar to prevent penetration and ceramic plates to help disperse the
Suit Components WPA 2012
  blast concussion.
* Cost? aprox 75k
* The suit weighs approximately 85-100 lbs.
   35 lbs for the trousers
   35 lbs. for the jacket
   8 lbs. for the helmet
   And boots.
   This suits allows little in the way of dexterity and
    agility. More armor might increase protection 
    but make movement impossible.
   (Though this guy is going to prove me wrong: VIDEO QUICK STUDY - dancing in a EOD suit 2:17)
   * The helmet includes a fan unit to help prevent  humidity from building up inside of the visor. But
      does not cool the person inside.
   * The suit has no cooling unit - considering the  weight of the suit, the body response to adrenaline and 
       physical activity, and the ambient temperature a bomb technician has about a twenty minute window
       of operational opportunity. 
   * If there is a possibility of a contaminant or bio-hazard, the team members have access to special suits
      that incorporate oxygen tanks (SCBA Self-contained Breathing Apparatus). These tanks add to the
      weight and loss of agility. These usually have about 45 minutes of air. That time period must include time 
      to "decon" (decontaminate).

VIDEO QUICK STUDY - Tools in use (3:53)
1. Telescopic manipulator - has a claw allowing a technician to work from a safer distance.
2. Ordinance disposal tools - the one we saw was approx. 35 lbs and could shoot the bomb. Also, there
   * robots with hooks, arms, car door openers, etc.
   * water jet disruptors
A Belgian Malinois of a police K-9 unit.
A Belgian Malinois of a police K-9 unit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
   * laser aiming devices, and so forth.
3. Remote viewing systems that might include
  * Borescopes
  * Videoscopes
  * Fiberscopes
  * X-ray technology 
4. Disruptors - can open up the package.
5. Bomb Detection Dogs
   * Dogs are typically taught to sit or lie down when
      they detect the scent.
   * Typically they are rewarded with a ball
   * Dogs are trained to the base component of
      explosives. Once they have these components
      any combination will trigger an alert. Dogs smell
      differently than humans if a human smells "stew," a
       dog  smells carrots, and beef and onion, etc.
WPA 2013 That's my scary  backpack.
 I named the robot  "Molly," because she needed a name.
6. Robots
   * Cost? Approx 125K and up
   * Depending on model, these are around 44 lbs.
   * VIDEO QUICK STUDY (3:41) 
   * Major issue is depth perception. That's
      why these techs practice, practice,
   * Information is transmitted via wireless to
      the  HAZMAT truck

Video Quick Study British EOD Tech talking about the "Long Walk" and assessment  (2:38)
For a bomb to go off there need to be three components:
1. Battery
2. Switch
3. High Explosive Charge
Disrupt any of these and you render the bomb inoperable.

Basic Techniques

(Techniques are kept secret so as not to train the attacker in better ways to succeed)
VIDEO QUICK STUDY - Suspicious Package Investigation (9:02)
1. Determine that there is a possible event. In the case of the technicians I was interviewing, most of their
    calls come from people who have found dynamite, or war souvenirs (WWII from granddad) and not
    from actual concerns about a bomb.
WPA 2013 Bomb Extraction Truck
2. Bring in the team and their trucks
   * Mobile Headquarters with gear also called
      HAZMAT Truck
   * Containment Truck
   * EMTs and fire
3. Clear the area to ensure the public's safety
   * Set up equipment this might include tenting if
      they believe bio-hazardous materials were
4. Suit up
5. Develop intelligence
   * They cannot use radio communication because it could set off the bomb.
6. Formulate a plan
7. Work the plan and leave.
   * If they are exploding something they yell, "FIRE IN THE HOLE!" three times.
   * Exploding the object is called "disrupting the device."
   * Counter Charge - means to put another explosive device on top of the suspected bomb and blow it up
   * Video Quick Study (4:50)

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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