Incendiary and explosive devices are equipments that are normally utilized by criminals are terrorists to create damage or cause death through destruction. However, such devices can also be used economically to explore minerals in mines. Incendiary and explosive apparatus are of different shapes and sizes. Bombs can be categorized as either incendiaries or explosives, based on how they react in the process of destruction. When incendiaries and explosives result to harm, health care professionals are called up to assist the injured people, in addition to counseling individuals who suffer from psychological trauma. Threats from incendiaries and explosives have become widespread; hence, the health care professionals should always be prepared to collaborate with emergency responders in handling victims of such disasters.
By definition, an incendiary device is an apparatus that is utilized to ignite a fire with an intention of causing destruction. The device incorporates an ignition source, as well as flammable filler attached to the container. An incendiary device causes a destructive effect through combustion. Some incendiary devices are classified by the federal government as illegal to use, and anyone found in possession of such devices can charged in a court of law. According to Smith (2014), an incendiary apparatus, such as Molotov cocktails, is categorized as bombs because it is likely to ignite fire and destroy property. Molotov cocktails are flammable liquids placed in a container, and a wick is attached to ignite a fire. Other examples of incendiary devices include bombs and high temperature accelerants (HTA).
Most incendiary devices are developed in a way that they can ignite themselves. Self-igniting incendiaries are quite unpredictable, as the time of combustion depends on the level of concentration of the flammable liquid, the strength of the container, and the amount of reactants. Incendiary devices are mostly homemade, and this makes them difficult to trace evidence after they damage property (Smith, 2014). Weapons of mass destruction (WMD), such as nuclear bombs, also fall under the category of incendiaries because they may sometimes be assembled to ignite.
An explosive is a kind of substance that is likely to explode if kept under the right circumstance. An explosive can be activated through ignition by fire, creating a friction, through chemical reaction, or concussion. The device is developed to generate a chemical reaction that releases a gas that bursts an enclosed container, thus, producing a destructive effect. Explosive devices are usually applied in excavation, mining, terrorism, war, and in controlling insurgence. Explosives burn quite rapidly, thus, producing a pressure-shock wave that causes destruction.
Examples of explosives include bombs, artillery shells, rockets, nuclear explosives, land mines, and grenades. Detonation of explosives may have an impact on health care facilities when they become a target for attack. All explosions should be treated as crime scenes, and only trained personnel should be allowed inside the specified area.
Responding to Incendiaries and Explosives
Understanding some elementary information concerning incendiaries and explosives can assist in responding to emergencies. Emergency medical services professionals are likely to face numerous challenges, including handling suspicious packages and bomb threats; hence, they should be trained on how to respond immediately in case of an attack (Vernom, 2010). Emergency responders should be more prepared to handle homemade explosives than military weapons, since they are expected to be at the forefront in offering protection during an explosive incident. Emergency medical services professionals should collaborate with other responders to ensure that all victims are offered an emergency care before they are taken to the health care facilities.
All injuries that result from explosions should be attended by qualified doctors, who are capable of evaluating the extent of injury to the body. Victims of chemical weapon destruction may require stabilizing treatment at the emergency scene while others should be rushed to the intensive care units in the nearby health facilities. Some victims may experience severe burns while others may have inhaled toxic fumes, which require urgent attention. Victims of explosions should undergo ultra-sound examination if they are in their second or third trimester in pregnancy (Warnock, 2002).
Health care facilities are also targets of bombing; thus, health care professionals must always be prepared to handle emergencies within their environment. Collaborating with the local public safety groups and local police can assist to meet the required level of response after bombing. Emergency medical service personnel may be more cautious in assessing the nature of blast before attending to the victims; hence, they should work with emergency care clinicians, who are more open to victim exposure (Koenig, et al., 2007).
Emergency responders assigned to evaluate bomb threats should be sensitive to any unusual object within the specified area (Smith, 2014). Emergency responders should make the bomb scene inaccessible even when there is no fire or victims that require to be saved. Exhaustion and frustration during the rescue mission, in addition to losing patients may cause long-term psychological problems for both rescuers and family members. Hence, emergency medical professionals should strive to identify individuals who may be suffering from both physical and psychological harm.
Although incendiaries and explosives can be utilized for economic gains, they have become widespread in causing destruction of property and terrorism. Knowing the difference between incendiaries and explosives can assist in handling incidences that are caused by the two forms of destructive devices. Bombs can be utilized as either incendiaries or explosives, and are commonly applied as weapons by terrorists. They can be set on fire or blast to create damage under specified conditions. Emergency medical services professionals should be trained on how to handle victims of explosives and fire. All injuries that emanate from explosions should be brought to the attention of medical professionals to evaluate the scope of harm to the body.
Koenig, K. L., Boatright, C. J., Hancock, J. A., Denny, F. J., Teeter, D. S., Kahn, C. A., & Schultz, C. H. (2007). Health care facilities’ “war on terrorism”: A deliberate process for recommending personal protective equipment. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 25(2), 185-95. d
Smith, J. (2014). A law enforcement and security officers’ guide to responding to bomb threats: Providing a working knowledge of bombs, preparing for such incidents, and performing basic analysis of potential threats. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.
Vernom, A. (2010, April 28). IED Facts for Emergency Responders. Journal of Emergency Medical Services.
Warnock, K.W. (2002). Terrorism and its Impact on the Practice of Surgery. The Surgical Technologist.