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Birmingham Alumni Tour FBI/US Army Hazardous Devices School (October 2, 2015)

On October 2, 2015 twenty six Alumni Association Members, graduates, and guests toured the Hazardous Devices School (HDS) on Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama.  HDS is the only bomb technician school in the United States which certifies Public Safety Agency officers under a joint U.S. Army/FBI program.  Bomb Technician students participate in a 6-week basic school and a multi-week advanced school to become certified bomb technicians and must be re-certified every three years.  Participants from PSAs all over the United States attend HDS in Huntsville.

Our tour was arranged by SSA Jeffery C. Warren, HDS Program Administrator, who had the HDS Staff demonstrate the equipment used in the school.  Equipment included the remote controlled robot, portable X-ray machines, small CCTV cameras, PAN (Percussion Actuated Non-electric) disrupter, protective suit and helmet, and other devices.  Several live detonations of explosives were executed to show the difference in types of explosives (e.g., dynamite versus C4) as well as a PAN demonstration against a “suspicious” briefcase. The PAN can shoot a slug of water at speeds from 1,200 to 1,900 feet per second aimed at a specific spot on the brief case to disrupt the firing mechanism after its specific location is determined by X-rays.  This technique is used to disarm IEDs (improvised explosive devices) across the country by local PSA bomb technicians.

The next stop on the tour was one of the many training villages which are replicas of buildings found across America.  The villages contain churches, schools, bus stations, train stations, airport buildings, buses, and others.  The PSA officer students practice disarming simulated IEDs in these replica buildings, image operating the remote controlled robot in the close confines of a church building, in between the desks in a school, or in a bus station to render the IED inert or extricate it.  This is what is practiced and taught at HDS.

Our final stop was the National Memorial to Fallen PSA Officers.  This monument was erected in 2007 to memorialize the lives of PSA agents who made the supreme sacrifice during the line of duty.  SSA Warren talked about each of the 15 plaques on the wall and the stories behind each one.  On the wall is a blank plaque, there to remind all HDS graduates to take their job seriously and to perform it safely lest their name be the next one on the wall.

Our sincere appreciation is offered to SSA Warren and all the 65+ men and women at HDS who provided us with the tour, the demonstrations, and for doing their part to ensure our local PSA bomb technicians are well trained.


                The Robot                                         Bomb Suit                           Inside East Side Chapel





                  Inscription at Base of Statue 



   The Fallen Bomb Technicians Memorial                                     SSA Warren Talking About Fallen Officers




Alumni, Graduates, Guests and COS Paul Daymond at HDS Entrance Sign

 This article is available for download. Just click the link below.

October 4.pdf


            The FBI Birmingham Citizens Academy Alumni Association (FBIBCAAA) is a nonprofit organization separate and apart from the FBI.

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