It takes a lot of thinking in order to be a member of the bomb squad. That is why the state of Illinois requires sixteen hours of training per month. Training that tests the squad members’ knowledge on how to defeat what could be a great danger.
“We’re trying to see well is this a switch, is this an actual detonator device, is this explosives or is it just a VCR,” says Investigator Doug Brinkley.
The team receives about two hundred calls per year. They use hooks, pulleys, and robots to see whether a call is the “real deal” or just a hoax. These bombs can be found in the homes of World War II veterans who have passed away, or made by a citizen with common household materials. But sometimes these bombs turn out to be fake.
It was only three years ago that students were evacuating the building here at tanner hall due to a bomb threat. This was Cameron McKoy’s first of nine different bomb threats across campus.
It takes the squad the majority of the day to search large buildings like tanner hall. The teams search dogs can only investigate for thirty minutes before needing a twenty-minute rest. These situations can sometimes put the bomb squad in great danger.
“There are times where you have to physically pick up the bomb, and disrupt it by hand,” says investigator Brinkley. “I mean don’t get me wrong there is no one on this bomb squad that wants to jump on a grenade, but I bet you everybody would.”
The risk that many bomb squad members are willing to take to keep the state safe.