The City of Paducah is fortunate and proud to maintain one of only five certified bomb squads in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Paducah Bomb Squad routinely serves 13 counties in Western Kentucky, as well as surrounding states. The squad consists of four certified bomb technicians and one specially trained paramedic. The Bomb Squad responds to and evaluates incidents involving known or suspected explosives, suspicious packages, hazardous chemicals, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
True to form, in 2017 bomb technicians responded to a variety of calls across Western Kentucky to include suspicious packages, military grenades, mortars, claymores and explosives of all types and sizes. The most common incident the Bomb Squad responds to is for the recovery of military ordnance. Many people are surprised to find out there are still quite a few pieces of active military ordnance from prior wars floating around. Many times, these ordnances are found by people cleaning out old barns, garages, attics and even old refrigerators. In all 12 incidents in 2017, the person locating these dangerous devices left the items alone and called their local law enforcement agency. If you find military ordnance, items believed to be an explosive, or a package you find suspicious, the Bomb Squad asks that you do not move the object. Be safe and call the police.
During 2016, members of the Bomb Squad responded to 15 incidents in Western Kentucky varying from suspicious packages, old explosives and military ordnance, to suspected improvised explosive devices (IED). During 2015, the Bomb Squad responded to 10 calls. In 2014, Paducah's Bomb Squad responded to 18 situations including the recovery of 15 explosive devices.
Since 2004, the Paducah Bomb Squad has been able to secure nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in grant funding for the unit. And in that time, the unit has purchased several new pieces of equipment inlcuding a new trailer and Andros HD2TM robot which is used to examine suspicious or known explosive devices rather than sending in technician to go hands-on. When bomb technicians do go hands-on, they wear approximately 100-pound suits which would help protect them from a blast. In 2011, grant funding allowed the squad to purchase the QuintecTM Dragon RunnerTM robot and a Live Scan X-Ray System which provides a live X-ray feed showing moving parts inside of packages.
The mission of the Paducah Bomb Squad is to provide render safe response, post blast investigation, and tactical aid to regional law enforcement agencies, while ensuring the protection of life, property, and the successful prosecution of illegal explosive or other hazardous device activities.
All certified bomb technicians attend a six week certification course at the Hazardous Devices School in Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, AL. Certified technicians must recertify every three years. The squad trains together twice a month. Once a year, all bomb squads in Kentucky come together for in-service training.
In addition to basic training, Paducah bomb technicians have received training in Advanced Explosive Destruction Techniques, Advanced Post Blast Investigations, Large Vehicle IED, and Improvised Explosives. These courses were taught by our federal partners in the ATF and FBI. The squad has also received training in Advanced Electronics, Threat Assessment, and SWAT Integration through AT Solutions, an Anti/Counter Terrorism Training Company in Virginia.
In addition to providing emergency response, the Paducah Bomb Squad is dedicated to equipping other first responder agencies and government entities with the knowledge to help them respond to explosive related incidents. In addition, the squad conducts presentations to schools and the private sector to help them prepare for bomb threats and/or actual incidents.
The squad has and continues to conduct general presentations for civic groups and school age children. For more information or to schedule a presentation, contact Captain Brian Laird at 270-444-8548.