Inside the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School
The FBI’s Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, plays a key role in training and certifying all of the nation’s public safety bomb technicians.
Narrator: Miami Police Department Officer Robert Rodriguez is gearing up to respond to a bomb threat. The scenario is part of a weeklong training at the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School. The facility on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, is where the nation’s bomb techs get trained and certified.
John Stewart: We are training the first responders of America. We feel a great responsibility to get it right. So if they leave here on Friday and they go to work Monday and they get a bomb call, they should feel absolutely comfortable—based on the training they receive—that they’re going to survive that call and be able to go home.
Narrator: Since 1971, the Hazardous Devices School has provided training to more than 20,000 local, state, and federal first responders and bomb techs. The training for new and experienced students prepares them for a wide range of threats.
Mark Vargos: This is an ever-changing syllabus, if you want to say, for the students here, because we want them to learn what we know based on intelligence and teach them those skills to help them in the real world.
Robert Rodriguez: That’s another one of the great things about the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School is that they show some of the stuff that’s at the frontlines, some of the stuff that’s coming out, hasn’t even come out yet.
Vargos: Being that this the only place in the United States that teaches our bomb techs, we feel that we’re providing them the best training possible. You know, we want to make sure these guys are trained to the highest level to be able to handle any situation they come across.
Narrator: As new threats emerge, the school’s innovative curriculum and training evolve to prepare public safety bomb techs for dangerous situations.
Kelly Boaz: Things are changing. The homemade explosives are out there, new ways of making IEDs are out there, and we try to get the bomb techs the current information that we have so they can combat it back home.
Rodriguez: So I feel that we’ve definitely got a lot of good information here. Our world is changing. You know, the threats are changing. We need to change with them.
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