TRIPwire: Bomb Prevention at Your Fingertips

From local bomb threats to last year's Boston Marathon bombings, first responders are the first line of defense against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). IEDs use everyday objects, such as peroxide, cleaning products and nails, to cause maximum damage and loss of life at a low cost.

This past year, according to open-source reporting, first responders in the United States reacted to nearly 2,800 IED-related incidents. According to this data, IEDs caused 265 injuries and 8 deaths in communities of all sizes: no community is too small.

With this in mind, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) TRIPwire program provides first responders with the information they need to prevent, protect against, respond to and mitigate life-threatening IED incidents.

Firefighters and other first responders provide critical support in the immediate aftermath of an incident. Available information at this stage is often limited or incomplete, yet first responders' actions carry immediate life-or-death consequences. White powder on the scene may alternatively be an illicit narcotic or an explosive compound set to combust; a pressure-cooker may be a simple kitchen tool or a fully functional IED.

Confusing these materials can have deadly consequences; first responders need explosives-related awareness information at their fingertips to help them identify when to call in a bomb squad to protect themselves, other first responders and their communities. This is where the TRIPwire system can help.

TRIPwire, the Technical Resource for Incident Prevention, is DHS's online, collaborative information-sharing network for first responders, bomb squads and other public-safety professionals. The TRIPwire website provides IED-related information to enhance stakeholder knowledge of IED attacks and components and to highlight suspicious behavior and indicators that accompany bomb-making activity. The site increases awareness of evolving terrorist IED tactics, techniques and procedures and gives incident lessons-learned and specific counter-IED preparedness information.

Developed and maintained by DHS' Office for Bombing Prevention, TRIPwire combines expert analyses and reports with relevant documents, images and videos gathered directly from terrorist sources to help users combat IED incidents. In the digital age, tactical bomb-making information spreads across the globe in a matter of seconds; TRIPwire uses a variety of open-source multimedia, ranging from international news services to specialized websites, to gather explosives-related information from all around the world and across the United States.

The TRIPwire program is committed to providing first responders with the most up-to-date information on the evolving IED threat to the United States. In April 2013, first responders throughout the world logged onto TRIPwire seeking information about the Boston Marathon bombings. In response to these events, TRIPwire created an OBP (Office for Bombing Prevention) Boston Marathon Response Toolkit, containing background reports developed by the TRIPwire team, training assessment resources, protective measure documents, joint intelligence bulletins and other relevant background material on the attack.

The TRIPwire program is committed to meeting users' unique needs. Fire service personnel can access a wide range of Fire and Rescue Notes, which provide discipline-specific IED-related information. Each Fire and Rescue Note contains a description of an IED component or tactic, details of what to look for, warning signs and images to help with rapid identification of IED-materials on the scene. Fire service personnel can print these Notes to assist in training and incident response.

Additionally, fire service personnel can stay current on IED threats in their areas, using TRIPwire's What's New carousel or its scalable, interactive domestic IED incident map and monthly IED incident report. The TRIPwire team works to collect, translate and post videos and documents highlighting the most current IED-related information necessary for fire service personnel to identify a potentially dangerous IED situation from the onset.

Remember: we keep you connected, you keep us protected!

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