Military bomb disposal units practising in Comox

Things are getting a little explosive in Comox.

Placing bombs on everything from suitcases to cars, members of the Canadian Forces from across Canada have gathered at CFB Comox for two weeks to practise their explosive techniques as part of Exercise Taz Runner.

What’s left of a car after a practice with EOD teams. Photo by Erin Haluschak

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) members from as far away as Gagetown, NB are utilizing the range to reacquaint themselves with tools, gain confidence in their work and to maintain their skills, explained Warrant Officer Dan Marlow.

“The benefits are that it helps build muscle memory and confidence in the tools they’re using and it always helps them learn new skills from other people who do this type of work,” he explained.

“We expect to see explosive tools used to disrupt improvised devices. Today we’re going to be disrupting potential vehicle bombs explosively, opening up cars explosively, opening up windshields; we’re going to be disrupting suitcases and laptop bags so the guys can get a better feel of the tools and their effects they have.”

Marlow said the scenarios to be practised over the next two weeks are based on historical events such as what the military sees in Afghanistan or in the news.

“Things are going to get their brain working – it’s a lot like figuring out a puzzle and how to beat the bomber.”

He noted while many people associate improvised explosive devices as something seen in war zones, they are becoming increasingly familiar in North America.

“We’ve had incidents within Canada in the last few year. Some are terrorist-related, some are domestic-terrorist related. The U.S. has the same problems we do – we’re not immune to it … As technology progresses, the bombs progress also. (About) 30 years ago, we were seeing mechanical timers – max an hour. Now you can use all other technologies where the timer could be weeks. We’re always chasing technology.”

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