Explosives may be encountered in operational situations. The ability to recognize threatening devices as well as unexploded ordnance can be life-saving for the provider and patient.

Consider a wounded Marine brought to your medical facility:

  • In his right pocket is a block of grey putty-like material. (C4 Explosive)
  • In his left pocket are three metal canisters, each the size of a half cigarette, and each extruding two thin wires. (Detonators)

Untrained medical providers may not realize that these materials are dangerous. Even those who recognize these objects may over-estimate the danger of the C4 explosive (very stable unless detonated by an explosion) and underestimate the danger of the detonators. (very unstable and may explode if dropped, sat on, hit with a hammer, attached to a battery, or taken apart to see what is inside)

Hand Grenade Operational Medicine

M18A1 Claymore Mine Operational Medicine

Demolition Charges US Army Field Manual  21-75 (pdf)

Mines US Army FM 21-75 (pdf)

Improvised Explosive Devices Field Medical Service School

Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)


Education and Training