About explosive devices:

Explosive devices may be manufactured military munitions, such as hand grenades, or may be devices that are homemade by terrorists or criminals. The latter are commonly known as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

IEDs may be small enough to fit into an audiocassette box or may be very large, with many kilograms of explosives packed into boxes or drums, often in a vehicle.

IEDs may be constructed to cause fire or blast damage to buildings or to maim or kill human targets. They may be packed with nails, ball bearings or other metal fragments, to increase injuries to people within the blast radius.

Usually, an IED will consist of the following elements:

However, non-electrical devices can be detonated by mixing chemicals or by using slow-burning fuse.

Instead of timers, devices can be detonated by remote control or by rigging them to explode when moved or tilted (booby traps).

Even quite small devices can cause metal and glass fragments to be propelled over a wide area. These fragments can be lethal. Large pieces of debris can also be hurled up into the air by an explosion. People should evacuate to at least 200 meters from an explosive device and make sure that they are not in line of sight of it.

Some knowledge of explosive devices can help people to spot them. Alert members of the public have averted many disasters. Understanding the force of explosives can make people realize the importance of getting out of the danger area.

The threat:

Terrorists, extortionists, arsonists, and anarchists have historically used IEDs. Sometimes hoax devices are placed by malicious pranksters. These devices might resemble a bomb but do not contain explosive material.

IEDs may be concealed in litter, storerooms and vehicles or may be left inside or outside buildings in plastic bags or boxes. Devices may even be mailed to the target.

Sometimes terrorists place more than one device. A second device may be designed to kill security force personnel and rescuers.

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