Effects of explosives

Discussion in 'RLC' started by mercurydancer, Nov 15, 2010.

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  1. mercurydancer

    mercurydancer LE Book Reviewer

    I am appealing to those who know far more than I about such things - and I am not taking the urine

    I have been tasked with writing a risk assessment for a hospital setting as part of Project Argus, which is to improve the response to terrorist attack.

    One aspect of that is to designate "safe" areas for staff where there is minimum exposure to flying glass and such like as a result of an explosion. As I know next to nothing about explosive velocities and radius of destruction I would like to call on you guys for what may be some techie information. I imagine that I will need some info regarding the potential of explosives which are capable of being carried or by transported by vehicl, and also what the effects of blast are for distances. Also it appears to be important to know what effects can be stopped or minimised.

    Any information would be appreciated
  2. There is a US federal document or technical manual that should cover what you are after.
    The Technical Manual TM 5-1300 is pretty detailed, giving pressure-time curve calculations for explosives.
    The federal document, the details of which completely escape me, gives minimum safe distances for certain sizes of bombs.
  3. My advice would be to the person asking you to do the risk assessment - task someone who does understand such matters!!!!

    Hope this helps
  4. Certainly during the IRA/PIRA campaign, there was a hatful of booklets and briefing notes for much of what you speak (window laminates, anti-blast curtains and nets, etc). Might be worth your while having a look here: Office for security and counter-terrorism | Home Office

    If you're in London, there is always your Op GRIFFIN contact.

    ............and unless your briefing is a technical briefing, then a 'simple' Risk Assessment should probably stay well away from the high detail: work on the premise that, if you don't understand it then you're audience most certainly won't. I speak from personal experience.
  5. Given that Project ARGUS is supposed to have been developed in collaboration with the National Counter-Terrorism Office, I would find it odd that someone would be tasked to write a risk assessment without any background knowledge or support.

    The relevant UK technical expertise lies mainly within the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), and they should be your POC if the NHS has not already established a link (whcih again, I find suprising).

    I would suggest that writing a risk assessment based on information gleaned through Arrse would be...risky!
  6. Bomb Shelter Areas are hardly a new idea - as pointed out above, they were well publicised during the PIRA campaigns. IIRC a whole bunch of people were in a bomb shelter area very close to the Bishopsgate bomb in 1993 and all survived.

    Anyway, the organisation that you want is the Centre for the Protection of the National Infrastructure. They will have access to all the expertise that you require.
  7. Mercury - PM sent.
  8. mercurydancer

    mercurydancer LE Book Reviewer

    Gassingbadgers and tippex- the risk of explosion is a small part of the risk assessment, most of which I can adequately complete. I just lack the references to such material to do with explosions. I am finding the references from this site very useful, and as is my practice, I want to know the far end of a fart for every matter I deal with.

    The PCO with the CPNI is indeed surprising that it is not linked with us in hospital management. I have heard of the CPNI but it is not that specific to what we are doing within a hospital setting.

    Project Argus is doing what it should... which is actiiating people like me in the appropriate roles to consider concerns and dealing with them appropriately.

    I do not underestimate the knowledge of arrsers, be it knowledge of explosive materials or dry bumming.
  9. In general terms you will need qualified structural engineers to identify and certify appropriate locations for safe areas. I'm an explosives guy, former ATO, and have been involved in many security assessments before, but I always rely on structural engineers to do that engineering assessment of structures versus the threat. Three I have worked with who are professional IMHO are TPS Consult, Grendon, and MFD. Google will take you there. If you need a personal introduction PM me.
  10. I am a septic sort and have very little knowledge as to resources as to what is available in the UK. I do know what is available in the US. There is a modeling program available here that you would likely call the dogs danglies and it should do what you are looking for. It was originally created for the Federal Aviation Administration by Northrup Grumman but that part of the FAA now is part of the TSA which is part of Homeland Security. (NOT the TSA people who frisk you though) You can use the program to "build" a virtual building and then model the effects of a number of different explosives. i should not give you all the details here as the capability of the program, list of explosives used etc are all a bit sensitive. All the information available publicly is at (link) Blast/FX Software Home One good thing is that it is free. All paid for by my dear old Uncle Sam. Also fairly easy to use if you can get the engineering info of the structure, description of the area etc. I use BlastFX 2.2 and am awaiting delivery of the new 3.0 beta version.

    The bad part is that as far as I know it is only available to US, State and Local gov't in the US. When it was sent to me I had to sign that my laptop would not leave the US etc. The Air Force is supposedly a major user and I know the US Army Civil Support Teams (God bless 'em, super people) use it. If your facility is near a US facility you might be able to sweet talk them into helping. On my side of the pond local government users need a "sponsor' i.e. a Federal type (FBI, BATF etc) who will verify that you are a local official responsible for this type of planning. You might need someone from the Security Service, MET police etc to ask on your behalf. A great tool and free but hard to get. My Uncle Sam is not being a hardarse about this. It is great for someone like me (or you) but if people with unfriendly intent used it they could figure out too much about how to blow things up. (Sorry for lack of details)

    Good Luck with this project!

    Note: Maybe someone in the RAF, Security Service, Centre for Protection of Infrastructure, etc has this already and might run the models if you give them the data. The model run is the easy part. Gathering the engineering data on the structure is the pain in the arse part.
  11. In response to David BOC, and if I understand Mercury's requirements: In the US there are two companies who provide this that I know of, ARA and Hinman Consulting Engineers. I maintain that this is a subject for professional structural engineers. The modelling program will only tell you so much - it won't tell you how wall A was constructed and if ceiling B is tough enough. So get a professional such as the ones I suggest above if your budget allows, and if not, get a budget. If you can't get a budget make sure your insurance covers you making a mis-judgment on structural and blast engineering matters - it probably won't.
  12. diplomat

    diplomat War Hero Book Reviewer


    PM Sent
  13. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    My first question would be whats the likelyhood of attack and type/size of weapon. That would give you a starting point to ask relevant questions. Structural engineers are good, I have used TPS Consult as well. I would think however that getting the Govt line on this is the way forward!
  14. In an office block I would imagine it wouldn't be hard to figure out what to do....

    This is a hospital. Aren't you going to have to think about O2 feeds, patients in their beds and operating theatres? And god knows what else.