Steps Against Truck Bombs

Source: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms 

Vehicle bombs have become so common that the general public, far from the scene of devastation, greets them with a certain grim resignation. Meanwhile, security officials are reluctant to discuss the dilemma such bombs present. There are very few options for successful "point defense" against bombs hidden inside cars or trucks. They may be summarized in the following manner:

The creation of "setbacks" in open zones around likely targets: These are generally a hundred feet or more to help prevent a bomb-laden vehicle from being parked close to the structure.

Defensive architecture: Erect fortress-like structures or build perimeter blast walls and harden existing buildings against blast (installation of safety glass is most important because many deaths and injuries in bombings are the result of shards of glass driven by the blast wave).

Closed circuit television: Install CCTV views of every approach around the perimeter of a target building and obtain various types of electronic detection devices to possibly "sniff" and sense the presence of explosives or electronic triggering gear.

Security personnel: Guards may work under cover or move about in the area beyond the perimeter to spot potential attack vehicles.

The Bureau Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) offers the following suggestions for what you can do to prevent a bombing disaster:

  • First consider whether you or your organization could be a possible target. Motives for bombings include revenge, extortion, terrorism and business disputes.
  • If your organization is active in controversial political and/or social issues, be aware that you could be targeted for violence.
  • If a suspicious object or package is found in your facility, under no circumstances should anyone move, jar or touch the object. Removing and disarming a bomb must be left to the professionals. Call your local police department immediately!

While waiting for authorities to arrive:

  • Identify the danger area. Generally a 300-foot area including floors below and above the object should be considered in the danger zone .
  • Follow your evacuation plan to evacuate the building
  • Open all doors and windows in order to minimize damage in the event the device explodes.
  • Do not reenter the building until bomb squad personnel tell you it is safe.