Nebraska bomb tech talks about how they respond to risky situations

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The discovery of multiple explosives in Lincoln on Wednesday was a rare event, but law enforcement gets plenty of practice.

“I might go a few weeks without any calls, but on average, our team, which is statewide, we run about 80 calls a year.” said Trooper Michael Mallery, a hazardous devices technician for the Nebraska State Patrol.

On Wednesday, Channel 8 caught up with him to talk about what the bomb squad does and what you should do if you come across anything suspicious.

For example, say there is a suspicious package on the steps of a courthouse.

Once on scene, at least two bomb technicians will respond, assess the immediate area and coordinate with the local bomb squad if they are within city limits.

Next, technicians will use tools similar to X-ray to look inside the package for any components that may indicate a bomb, then evaluate what to do next.

Mallery said not all calls revolve around the removal of something so high stake.

He said the patrol mostly responds to the pickup and removal of old ammunition, gunpowder and more.

“We respond to some unknown chemicals,” he said. “The older, turn-of-the-century safes were booby trapped with a tear gas-type agent, and so once that is removed from the door of the safe, we will take custody of it, and we can dispose of it.”

His patrol car is equipped to operate as a typical patrol unit, but it also carries anything he may need to respond to any explosive incident.

Those items include the iconic suit and a BIP, or blow in place, a device used to detonate items that do not hold any evidence value.

“If we find a piece of pipe bomb lying in a ditch, and it’s been there for a considerable amount of time, we will just put a piece of explosive next to it and blow it in place,” Mallery said.

If you do come across a suspicious item or find an old wartime item that someone left behind, do not touch or remove it. Simply contact your local law enforcement office.

“Contact your local law enforcement,” Mallery said. “They in turn can contact us. We are 24/7, we can respond and then we can make an assessment if it is hazardous or not. And this is what we get paid to do, so it’s not big deal for us to roll out.”

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