Youngstown Bomb Squad Commander Shares Insight Into Training

Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 130.

It’s an incident Youngstown Bomb Squad Commander Doug Bobovnyik fears could have happened anywhere.

“It’s easy to conceal an explosive device, especially in a crowded area where there are a lot of people,” said Bobovnyik.

All certified bomb squads undergo the same extensive training at Redstone Arsenal, an Army base in Alabama.

“Initial school is for six weeks, and then we go to re-certification schools and other schools related to that on an annual basis,” said Bobovnyik.

He added it’s common before big events for a squad and trained dogs to sweep through the area to check for devices. If an incident does occur, a squad will then do something they call “render safe procedures.”

“We arrive on the scene and if there is a device we render it safe,” said Bobovnyik. “It’s not uncommon for a secondary or third device to be placed in an area which is meant to injure bystanders or first responders”.

Each squad was trained the same way by the FBI to handle all kinds of different scenarios, including incidents with multiple explosive devices like what happened at the Boston Marathon.

According to Bobovnyik, the hours after the attack Monday afternoon would have involved collaborations between multiple agencies like the FBI and ATF.

“The bomb squad is mostly the first responder in an incident like this. They do though, at times, assist the post blast investigation,” said Bobovnyik.

Looking ahead, Bobovnyik said he thinks Monday’s attack will impact how public events are handled across the country.

“It’s going to be more difficult to plan them and to make them safe,” he said.

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