Pipe Bombs Safety Awareness Tips

What is a pipe bomb and what do they

look like? Here is the answers:

A pipe bomb is an improvised explosive device, a tightly sealed section of pipe filled with an explosive material. The containment provided by the pipe means that simple low explosives can be used to produce a relatively large explosion, and the fragmentation of the pipe itself creates potentially lethal shrapnel.

Premature detonation is a hazard of attempting to construct any homemade bomb, and the materials and methods used with pipe bombs make unintentional detonation incidents common, usually resulting in serious injury or death to the assembler.

In many countries the manufacture or possession of a pipe bomb is a serious crime, regardless of its intended use. It is illegal!!!

The bomb is usually a short section of steel water pipe containing the explosive mixture and closed at both ends with steel or brass caps. A fuse is inserted into the pipe with a lead running out through a hole in the side or capped end of the pipe. The fuse can be electric with wires leading to a timer and battery or can be a common fuse. All of the components are easily obtainable.

Generally, high explosives such as TNT are not used, because these and the detonators that they require are difficult to obtain. Such explosives also do not require the containment of a pipe bomb.

Instead, any sort of explosive mixture the builder can find or make is used, and some of the explosive mixtures used, such as black powder, match heads or chlorate mixtures are very prone to ignition by the friction and static electricity generated when packing the material inside the tube or attaching the end capsaccounting for many injuries or deaths amongst builders. If sharp objects, such as nails or broken glass, are added inside the bomb in an attempt to increase the amount of injury, these also add to the risk of premature ignition.


We take all bomb threats seriously, here is what to do if you receive a bomb threat or find a possible explosive device!

Response to a Bomb Threat

Call: 911 or your local law enforcement.

What to Know:

A suspicious-looking box, package, object or container in or near your work area may be a bomb or explosive material. Do not handle or touch the object. Move to a safe area and call the Local Law enforcement (911) immediately ( DO NOT CALL IF YOU ARE WITHIN 50 FT of the OBJECT, BOX or DEVICE THIS MAY ACTIVATE THE EXPLOSIVE). Use a telephone in a safe area. Do not operate any power switch and do not activate the fire alarm.

What to Do:

If you receive a bomb threat:

  • Stay calm and try to keep your voice calm.
  • Pay close attention to detail. Talk to the caller to obtain as much information as possible.
  • Take notes. Use the Bomb Threat Checklist (a copy is attached) while the caller is on the telephone or as soon as possible while the details are still fresh in your memory.
  • Ask the following questions:
    • When will it explode?
    • Where is it right now?
    • What does it look like?
    • What kind of bomb is it?
    • Where did you leave it?
    • Did you place the bomb?
    • Who is the target?
    • Why did you plant it?
    • What is your address?
    • What is your name?
    • Note Caller ID if present
  • Observe the callers:
    • Speech patterns, accent and tone
    • Emotional state
    • Background noise
    • Age and gender
  • Write down other data
    • Date and time of call
    • How threat was received
  • Call Safety at x4243 and submit your notes/bomb threat checklist from the telephone call or the bomb threat letter or note to Safety personnel.
  • If you are told by the Supervisors or Alert Siren PA to evacuate the building:
    • Visually check your work area for unfamiliar items as you are leaving. Do not touch suspicious items: report them to authorities.
    • Take personal belongings, if safe to do so, when you leave.
    • Leave doors and windows open; do not turn light switches on or off.
    • Move well away from the building and follow instructions by your supervisors or safety committee members

If there is an explosion:

  • Take cover under sturdy furniture, or leave the building if directed to do so
  • Stay away from windows
  • Do not light matches
  • Move well away from the site of the hazard to a safe location
  • Use stairs only, do not use elevators
  • Call 911 if no one has already called

Information from DHS, FBI.gov , AFMAN 10-100 and Wikipedia.

Today’s post is courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau


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