A Day in the Life of a Bomb Squad Technician

By: Ben J. Fischer Email
By: Ben J. Fischer Email

Saving lives is their number one priority. And they train to be the best at what they do.

But when your job is to remove dangerous weapons, it can be a bit stressful.

"Our safety and the safety of the public is paramount," said Deputy James Armstrong from the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department.

Bomb squad technicians from Marathon County spend time training at least twice a month locally and once every couple of month’s nationally in Alabama. They spend time keeping up to date with the latest in technology and techniques used to remove and disarm dangerous explosives.

"We would much rather come out and find a device that's either inert or a phony device than do a post blast investigation because somebody has been seriously injured or killed."

The bomb techs dispose of manufactured drugs as well as several kinds of commercial and improvised explosives. By safely removing these harmful items, they hope to make communities across Wisconsin safer.

"It's important that our training and our equipment stay current to counter these threats. It's very important that we stay on top of things," said Armstrong.

In 2005, they tested their skills to when they say they found the materials to make pipe bombs in a Vilas County home.

"Interesting case because it's something I don't believe we faced prior, but we were trained how to take care of it, and we did," said Armstrong.

Armstrong believes their experience in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin was a beneficial one.

"The outcome was a positive one because nobody was injured. The suspect was taken into custody without incident and there was no release of his weapons of mass destruction."

The current technology the unit uses increases their ability to remove and disable weapons from difficult situations. They use a wide variety of computer systems and other high tech equipment. They are especially fond of wireless robots that allow them to capture and disarm weapons without the risk of human life.

“It is efficient and very effective in that it allows us to remotely render a device as safe as opposed to having a bomb technician go up and possibly have the device detonate.”

Armstrong said that there are many interesting parts about a bomb technician’s job. Probably the most interesting is that those who are in the bomb squad don’t necessarily have a law enforcement background.

"It’s something different. There's not a large number of bomb technicians in the world and it is a very interesting community of people."

He says bomb techs care about one thing; and that it is your safety.

"If property get's destroyed because of an explosive device, although we don't want to see that happen, that's a lot less serious than if somebody is going to be injured or killed because of an explosive device," said Armstrong.

All the bomb squad training is provided by the federal government.

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