IED Awareness: The Blast Zone

(Note: This is a companion piece to the article I re-posted titled IED Awareness for First Responders and Civilians.)


In this companion piece to my previous article, IED Awareness for First Responders, I cover the basics of what every first responder should know about the area around a bomb which is affected by the blast. This area is known as the blast zone.

Many are only mistakenly concerned about shrapnel, those small, solid bits and pieces of a bomb, which radiate out from the epicenter of a blast, that can kill and maim. However, there is far more to be concerned with. Many injuries and deaths associated with bombings are a result of other forces within the blast zone. Certainly, shrapnel is of great concern, as it can travel great distances at very high velocity. But one must also consider other forces within the blast zone, namely heat and over-pressure.

One characteristic behind explosives is that they instantly release great amounts of energy. Physics tells us any time that happens; a vast amount ofheat is generated and radiates outward from the blast. This is why detonation is always accompanied by a flash of light, the telltale sign of rapid energy release. The heat from this energy release can reach over one thousand degrees, and can cause severe injury and death to anybody within the blast zone. A secondary effect from such blasts is the ignition of flammable material in the area. So, first responders are not only immediately concerned with the injured, they must often contend with controlling resultant fires.

An example of heat released in the form of light. The shock wave is visible as a semi-transparent outline around the resultant light.


Read the Remainder at Medium