The Bomb Squad is available to assist local police departments in the investigation and detection of explosive related incidents. This unit has a fully equipped bomb truck and a single vented bomb trailer. The Squad also has metal detectors, a robot, that is radio controlled, listening devices, and x-ray equipment for screening packages. Police agencies requiring the assistance of this unit should contact the Union County Police Communications Center at (908) 654-9800.
Bomb Squad personnel are hazardous devices technicians, also known as bomb technicians, who are on call for such things as suspicious packages, explosives, live military ordnance, and other similar situations.
The Bomb Squad also handles problems involving illegal fireworks in the Union County area. Fireworks are illegal to use or possess in the State of New Jersey.
Home-made fireworks and explosives are very unstable. There is no set formula for the explosive that is used in illegal fireworks. Some of the fireworks that are made in Mexico are so unstable and dangerous that they are shipped wet to prevent them from exploding prematurely. The explosive filler can be set off by friction, heat, impact, sparks or flame. If you have a bag full of illegal fireworks and one of them goes off accidentally, you can assume that all of the fireworks in the bag will go off at the same time. A small amount of fireworks going off at the same time in a vehicle can kill everyone who is in that vehicle and scatter parts of the car in all directions.
Military devices are designed to kill. Some of them have complicated fuses that are designed to detonate the explosive by a slight movement, or impact. Some of them contain poisonous gas. It is usually not the actual explosion of a military device that kills people. It is usually the shrapnel (small pieces of metal) from the explosion that kills people. Shrapnel can travel at 3000 feet per second in all directions from the explosion. The metal pieces are razor sharp and will cut through the human body causing fatal wounds. Military devices are often altered by civilians and become even more dangerous. Military explosives experts will not handle any military devices that are found until they can be sure that the device contains no explosives or has not been tampered with. If you want to stay alive, follow their example.
Pipe bombs are one of the most dangerous explosive devices that you may encounter. The explosive filler may react with the metal in the pipe, causing it to explode unexpectedly. The explosive filler may get into the threads of the pipe and a small amount of movement may be enough friction to cause the pipe bomb to explode. Static electricity may jump from your hand to the pipe causing the pipe bomb to explode. A pipe bomb can easily kill someone who is 300 feet away from the explosion because it will throw many pieces of shrapnel in all directions.
Even commercial explosives can be unpredictable. Crystallized dynamite can detonate with a sudden temperature change of 3 degrees or more. ANFO can be made touch and friction sensitive if it has been contaminated with some impurities.
There are over 50 people killed each year by explosives (not including major events like Oklahoma City) and approximately 500 people injured each year by explosives. According to the FBI’s Bomb Data Center, most of these “Incidents” occur in residential areas. The most common explosives used are black powder, smokeless powder and fireworks powders. The most common explosive device encountered in the USA is the pipe bomb.
If you should need to speak with a Bomb Squad Technician regarding a bomb incident or investigation contact the Union County Police Communications Center at (908) 654-9800.