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Saturday, November 14, 2009

PNP and JSOTF-P Explosive Ordnance Disposal Teams Teach More Than 100 First Responders

By Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly, Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines Public Affairs

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – Drawing upon years of real-life experience working with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), members from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) trained more than 100 first responders in the Zamboanga del Norte province Nov. 9-12.

Members assigned to JSOTF-P from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 5 (MU-5) assisted officers from the Regional Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Detection Unit 9 (REODDU9) teaching all aspects of IED awareness, including detection, response and the parts of an IED.

“This is the first time I have seen these IEDs and it is very good to learn about them. If we encounter these IEDs in the future, now we will know what to do. The coordination that I see between JSOTF-P and the PNP is very beneficial to all of us,” said Norman Paul Q. Namoc, a firefighter from Dipolog City.Participants came from several organizations including other PNP units, the Provincial Bureau of Fire Protection, the Crime Laboratory Service and the Provincial Health Department of Zamboanga del Norte.

Many of the class participants may be first on scene to investigate a suspected IED. This makes this type of hands-on training imperative, for it could save thousands of lives.

“Presently, IEDs are the number one weapon of choice for terrorists throughout the world. It is our job to develop our knowledge and capabilities, and it is the first responders who must know exactly how to react if they come across these devices,” said Lt. Erik Spalding, the JSOTF-P EOD Task Unit officer-in-charge.

The first day of the seminar began with a basic introduction regarding IEDs, what types exist, how they are activated and what to do if the attendees suspect they have encountered one.

“It is so important to train our first responders if they encounter an IED so that they can effectively respond. And, it’s important they know what we do so we can do our job without any interference and be able to save people who don’t know the affects of an IED,” said Jonathan A. Nodado, a police officer from REODDU9.

“Our hope is that the students will go back to their units with an increased understanding of what we do and will share that knowledge with others who were unable to attend,” he said.

The EOD teams from the PNP and JSOTF-P took turns teaching the class and brought several types of explosives, switches, and initiators with them, familiarizing the students with all aspects of bomb construction. The instructors also covered the parts of an IED, so students could see how easy it is for lawless groups to make this type of weapon.

Teams also shared their experiences working with live ordnance and the proper procedures to follow when an IED is found. They also underlined the dangers and results when teams have failed to respond properly.

The following day, students applied the skills learned in the classroom by participating in training exercises. In one drill, students broke into ten-man teams and were set on foot patrols with mock IEDs placed throughout the police unit headquarters.

Students also learned how to work with the media, who are often on the scene before the EOD teams arrive. Two local radio newscasters came to cover the training and ended up assisting with several of the drills, painting a more realistic portrait of how the scene might appear if they come across a suspected bomb.

The seminar concluded with a disposal operation at the Sambay beach in the Barangay Banigan. Many PNP units have stockpiles of old explosives, which may become dangerous if lawless groups gain access to them. The controlled disposal operation ensured terrorists will not gain access to these devices.

“I am very happy we could partner with the PNP and conduct this training together. IEDs are a huge threat here, and we are happy to share our experiences with the first responders. It is an honor to be here working with such trained and skilled professionals,” said Spalding.

1 comment:

  1. Hi guys! This is Norman, fireman of Dipolog City, Philippines. My experience with you during the training you conducted in Dipolog was so unforgettable specially the disposal opns in the beach.

    Wish to see you again guys.