Linus had his security blanket, and modern law enforcement and security personnel now have one too - the bomb blanket. A bomb blanket is a flexible pad, similar to a very heavy blanket, that can serve a variety of purposes but its primary use is to mitigate the blast and shrapnel associated with an explosive device. Before we look at these tools, let’s take a minute to discuss the impacts of an explosion. Explosions have two primary effects that create damage, particularly for vulnerable targets, like humans. First is the actual blast. The blast, and resulting concussion of an explosion has many impacts on the human body. One of the most common effects is called “blast lung” where the lungs are damaged from the high-pressure wave of a high explosive blast. Other parts of the body that contain gases, such as the bowels and GI tract can also be damaged by the blast. This can cause perforations, bleeding and other assorted problems. Head, eye, and ear injuries are also common from high pressure blasts.
Another type of injury from explosions are the well-recognized effects of shrapnel. Shrapnel can be a deliberate part of an explosion, such as a pipe bomb with nails, ball bearings, and other metal fragments enclosed or attached. The Boston Marathon bombers deliberately placed metal items in their bombs for the shrapnel effect. Additionally, shrapnel can be an indirect and perhaps unintended consequence of an explosion. For example, an explosive device placed inside a car, may, in the outburst of pressure, create shrapnel from the car body or other car parts.
Shrapnel can be just as deadly as the concussive blast from an explosive device.
Law Enforcement agencies frequently get calls of a “suspicious object” where someone has left a backpack, suitcase, or other object in a conspicuous place, where the reporting party might be concerned the object is more than it appears. We are all familiar with the warnings at Airports, to report unattended baggage. The reason for this is simple. These are easy ways to disguise an explosive device. Invariably, a first responder would arrive, look at the suspicious item, then make a decision or call a line level supervisor to determine the next steps. So, what can the average agency do to mitigate such risks? A bomb technician or bomb squad will most likely be needed to respond and examine any real suspicious device. But such response is often very delayed as the team assembles and responds, with all the necessary gear. How can the public, and first responders, be better protected in the interim? Obviously clearing a wide area is in order, but what else can be done? The answer is both simple, and relatively inexpensive. The answer is a bomb blanket.
A bomb blanket is small, lightweight, and flexible. It is easy to pack in the trunk of a car and can be man portable to a scene with ease. Once on scene, the blanket is placed over the suspicious device. A bomb blanket is affordable and portable insurance. Security Pro USA sells both bomb blankets and carrying bags that could easily be brought to the scene by the initial responder, then placed over the object while decisions are made and a response is coordinated. This, in addition to the safe space, would mitigate the possible damage and injury any blast might cause. In this use, the bomb blanket is all about blast containment. But bomb blankets are more than just EOD equipment. For example, I have worked for agencies that used the blanket as both an EOD blanket and for ballistic protection. A bomb blanket can be placed over a more porous object, like a car door, to provide not just blast protection, but also ballistic protection. A bomb blanket can be used as an ad hoc shelter for an active shooter response. To button hole the bomb blanket as just EOD equipment is to ignore its flexibility in both use and construction. Anywhere ballistic or blast protection might be needed, a bomb blanket can be deployed.
So, if you find your agency needs a little added security, consider the bomb blankets. They can be very reassuring to have around.
About the writer
Military and Law Enforcement Veteran
FBI certified firearm instructor
MP5 and Sub Machine gun instructor
Defensive tactics instructor