Explosive incident response


Explosive incident response is divided among three stages:

Pre-Blast Incidents

  • Refers to an explosive device that has not yet detonated. Pre-blast perimeters should be established based on local protocols, procedures, and guidelines.

Post-Blast Response

  • Refers to an incident involving a device that has already exploded. Decisions are based on the destruction caused by the blast (i.e., the amount of explosives used). First, decide where to establish the inner perimeter; perimeter decisions should include the possibility of additional explosive devices.
  • Triage can then begin, which may require rescues from a collapsed building.

Continuing Explosive Incident

These are incidents where a threat from additional explosive devices exists. Responders should seek shelter and safe distance until area is deemed safe for triage and rescue.


According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 472, Section A.4.2.1 (20):[1]

  • Evaluate the scene for likely areas where additional devices could be placed.
  • Visually scan the operating areas (a 360-degree scan from the windshield of a vehicle is preferable).
  • Avoid touching or moving anything that might conceal an explosive device.
  • Designate and enforce scene control zones.

See Also


  1. NFPA 472 Standard for Professional Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials Incidents 2002 Edition http://www.disaster-info.net/lideres/english/jamaica/bibliography/ChemicalAccidents/NFPA_472_StandardforProfessionalCompetenceofResponders.pdf