The Emery County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) hosted a regularly scheduled meeting on Jan. 2 at the Emery County Sheriff’s Office.
A presentation was given by Sergeant Peter Quittner, Utah County Emergency Manager, Bomb Squad Commander. Quittner talked about the need to educate the public on the dangers of explosives, the proper procedures to follow if one encounters explosives, who to contact and the importance of having a bomb threat plan in your community.
There are eight auxiliary bomb squads in Utah that comprise the Utah State Bomb Squad Task Force. Utah County’s Bomb Squad is the primary response team for Utah, Juab, Wasatch, Carbon, Emery and Sanpete counties. It is also responsible for training in these counties.
In the last decade, there has been an average of 2,500 bombings per year in the United States. Utah ranks as 5th in the nation for bombings. One issue in the local area is that there are a lot of blasting caps and dynamite found in old out-buildings and basements. One such incident occurred during the Seeley Fire in July 2012, when firefighters came across approximately 1,800 pounds of explosives in an abandoned storage facility near Clear Creek during a back-burn operation.
Quittner explained that the bomb squad wants the explosives away from the public. Therefore, the squad wants people to know that they can call for help with no questions asked. “Many people don’t call because they are afraid of being charged,” explained Quittner. “We are much more interested in properly disposing of the material so that no one gets hurt than we are in sending a bill or prosecuting someone.”
If someone does find explosives, they should first call their local authorities to report what they have found. If necessary, the bomb squad will respond without question or cost to recover the old explosives. The bomb squad advises to never touch or move old explosives because they may change composition with age and can be dangerous to handle without the proper precautions. If something is suspicious or one is unsure if the item in question is dangerous, call for assistance. The Emery County Sheriff’s Office can be reached by calling (435) 381-2404 and the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office can be reached by calling (435) 636-3251.