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Law Week – An explosive career path

Law Week is an annual national event which creates further understanding of the role that law and justice plays in today’s society. This week have profiled some interesting roles available in the Queensland Police Service and today we look at the Explosive Ordnance Response Team (EORT).

They are the team that explode on to the scene just like the devices they are trained to neutralise. Their objective: to provide the community and the QPS with a specialist response to explosives. Their team motto: “whatever it takes”.

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Since becoming a fulltime unit in 1984, EORT has been serving the community and the QPS with a high level of expertise in response to improvised explosive devices/bombs and explosives. EORT is based in Brisbane and is made up of 10 bomb technicians and 6 Firearms and Explosive Detector Dog (FEDD) teams who on any given day can be deployed throughout Queensland. There are also part-time bomb technicians stationed throughout the state to enhance regional capabilities and reduce incident response times.

The team responds to approximately 300 jobs a year that range in incidents such as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), improvised explosive devices (IEDs), homemade explosives (HMEs), booby traps and chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) devices. And it’s not just imminent threats the team assists with; they also are highly skilled in providing post-blast investigative assistance as well as reconstructing and testing evidence for court while working closely with forensic services and the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service. The team has been involved in three of the largest explosive operational jobs in Australia; Pullenvale (August 2014), Rochedale (November 2014) and Ipswich (2013).

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The primary role of a bomb technician is to respond to a device once it has been located and render it safe. Technicians and FEDD teams regularly work together to conduct coordinated searches, clearing an area so that operational police can safely commence investigations.

FEDD teams are trained to search for all types of explosives, including firearms and ammunitions, and provide support to both security operations and to officers executing a search warrant. Labradors are predominately used as one half of the duo as the breed is known for its superior senses, particularly with smell however German Shepard’s are also part of the current mix. FEDD teams are regularly engaged prior to major events or VIP visits to assess the safety of an area by conducting bomb and firearm sweeps. They are trained in locating hidden firearms, ammunition and explosives and prove highly beneficial during warrant search operations.

EORT have at their disposal a range of equipment to help safely and successfully perform their duties from bomb suits, to robots, metal detectors, and even a total containment vessel. The EOD9 heavy duty bomb suit is donned by the technicians when dealing with identified live explosives and weighs in at a total 30kgs. EORT has a varied array of robotics platforms from the very large to the very small. The robots support bomb technicians in achieving their goals safely and efficiently by providing versatility, dexterity and diversity. The robots are also used at the scenes of chemical spills or other emergency situations where circumstances restrict the close presence of humans.

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Dealing with explosives isn’t something many would choose to do, but for members of EORT it’s all in a day’s work. If being a member of this specialist team interests you, then first stop is becoming a Queensland Police officer. EORT officers come from varied backgrounds within the Service such as General Duties, Tactical Crime Squads and the Water Police. Officers must complete the First Year Constable program and be confirmed into the Service prior to applying for specialist roles. Positions within EORT are highly coveted with positions becoming available infrequently due to EORT officers desire to stay long-term within the team. Once selected into the team officers participate in intensive training that provides them with the necessary skills and knowledge. Basic Bomb Search Courses and Bomb Technician courses are available to all sworn officers throughout the state without having to be a part of the EORT. For more information about becoming a QPS officer, visit our recruiting website here.

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