What Is It Like To Defuse A Bomb?

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You’ve seen the movies where the focused combat veteran or nervous rookie cop clenches a pair of wire cutters and is fixated on snipping either the blue or red wire. According to TV Tropes, the bomb defusing concept is known as the wire dilemma, where in “fiction-land, disarming just about any bomb is a matter of cutting the right wires in the right order,” usually given by distinct colors. Snip the wrong wire, and its game over – but what is it really like to disarm a bomb?

Noam Kaiser, a Combat Officer in the Israeli Defense Force of five years, had this to say to Quora.com:

“Well...:) First of all, you are not alone. You're backed up by an adjacent medical team, and a team mate which is meant to ensure there are no interferences such as wind, sun light blocking eye sight, sand pouring in and so on. It is carried out very slowly, with precision (Not surgical, but very precise) and with a careful, delicate touch.”

Kaiser said that keeping such a chaotic weapon under control requires the environment to be handled without any interference of the defusing process.
“As much silence as possible is required. [Yet this is] not always possible.”


With no surprise, movies don’t provide an accurate portrayal of how a bomb is defused – it’s more of a long and meticulous process with no quick impulses.

“I agree it is nothing like the movies. For a bystander it would look like a slow, tedious and boring process. It sure doesn't look like it when you're the guy crouching over the bomb.

Sean Sandeen, the second top rated answerer on Quora concerning what it was like to defuse a bomb, added that, “It is nothing like the movies. There is no blue wire to single out and cut. You have to understand the entire firing system and know how best to disrupt it. You have to account for the possibility of a detonation no matter how confident you are in your procedures.”

“In real life it isn't the big things that are scary. If a large device detonates in your face, you won't even feel it. The scary things are the smaller ones, the things that take a hand or a leg; you'll feel that.”

Military fields like the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) keep their render safe procedures (RSP) secret in order to deprive intelligence to their enemies; if such knowledge is in the wrong hands, then opponents may develop new anti-handling techniques which make bombs harder to defuse.

“Once finished though, a good cigarette is required. Even if you're a non-smoker,” said Kaiser.

(Images via WikiCommons, TV tropes)

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