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Bomb resistant trash cans and more

he events of Sept. 11, 2001, will long be remembered by Americans and the rest of the world. In the last decade, the U.S. Congress has sought to increase citizen safety and security in public spaces, taking measures to prevent future terrorist attacks. From response robots to explosives detection, ASTM Committee E54 on Homeland Security Applications has done its part to support Congress’ efforts. When it comes to the nation’s security concerns, more and more public officials and security experts want to know, “According to what standard?”
The technology of public security is often hidden or embedded in surroundings so it is not noticed by the untrained eye. Blast-resistant trash receptacles camouflage perfectly when placed in transit environments, such as subway platforms or during significant public events. Although undetectable as important security elements, they limit injuries and damage to facilities if an explosive is placed in a BRTR.
  • ASTM E2639, Test Method for Blast Resistance of Trash Receptacles, provides a standard procedure for characterizing the blast resistance of trash receptacles when an explosive is detonated within the receptacle.
  • ASTM E2740, Specification for Trash Receptacles Subjected to Blast Resistance Testing, provides performance requirements for trash receptacles when subjected to explosive tests.
  • ASTM E2831/E2831M, Guide for Deployment of Blast Resistant Trash Receptacles in Crowded Places, provides basic recommendations for a variety of operational and explosive effect situations.

Gas suppliers intentionally add noxious scents to their products to signal that harmful vapors are airborne, helping to secure our homes from gas leaks or even deadly explosions. But detecting explosives is much more difficult when screening airline passengers at airports. According to a National Institute for Standards and Technology impact study published in July, more than 15,000 explosive trace detection systems are in service today, helping to protect airports, airlines and passengers from danger.
  • ASTM E2520, Practice for Measuring and Scoring Performance of Trace Explosive Chemical Detectors, helps the manufacturers of explosive trace detection systems assess and improve the overall performance of their devices.

In their work to protect the public, it is inevitable that emergency responders risk their own lives. However, urban search and rescue task forces are starting to use emergency response robots to help out when disaster strikes. Before deployment, first responders must know if the robot they’re using is right for the job, whether it’s finding victims at disaster sites or defusing explosives.
  • ASTM Committee E54 on Homeland Security Applications created a task group to provide an objective measure of emergency response robot performance for representative urban search and rescue applications.
  • Task Group E54.08.01 is developing a series of 15 performance requirements and test methods for response robot systems used in urban search and rescue applications.
  • According to that NIST impact study, the growing acceptance of ASTM’s response robot series of standards has enabled a 40-50 percent reduction of test event operational expenses.

As for this September, a more heartening security concern is occupying the minds of East Coast public officials and security experts — the visit of Pope Francis to New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. In the 14 years since the events of 2001, we have learned a lot about security in public spaces, and ASTM standards are there in support.
Nicole Villegas is a student at Villanova University and ASTM’s corporate communications intern for 2015.

This article appears in the September/October 2015 issue of Standardization News.
By Grant Haber - CEO, American Innovations, Inc.Bookmark on Bookmark on
Blast mitigation devices, such as bomb resistant waste receptacles, are being deployed to replace one of the softest terrorist targets- trash receptacles. Trash receptacles, which are a necessity for waste management. pose a serious threat to public safety and infrastructure security, considering how easily they can conceal an explosive device planted by a terrorist. The trash receptacle becomes part of the attack and maximizes the intensity of the explosion by spraying shrapnel and fragmentation at great distances. It must also be understood that a terrorist attack using ordinary trash receptacles and remote activated or time delayed explosive devices can be easily coordinated to strike multiple places simultaneously or in stages. without exposing the terrorist.
Agencies and facilities considering deploying bomb resistant trash receptacles to reduce their vulnerability to this type of an attack must exercise good judgment when purchasing and installing this technology. In order to regain and maintain an edge over the terrorists, agencies and facilities should not publicize the amount of explosives their bomb receptacles arc able to withstand during an explosion. Doing so will enable the terrorists to possibly defeat thc technology by simply placing a larger size bomb inside the receptacle. The locations of their newly purchased anti-terrorism technology should not be disclosed either, because doing so will most likely result in the terrorist planting their bomb inside something without any force protection.In addition to protecting the explosive containment ratings and nol disclosing the installation; on locations for newly purchased bomb receptacles, it is equally important for all customers to know what they are purchasing. Understanding how a bomb receptacle was tested to ensure its reliability during an actual terrorist attack is vital for public safety and infrastructure security. Since it cannot be controlled where within a trash receptacle an explosive device will be placed. bottom center, side wall, and midpoint center detonation tests must all be conducted to determine the actual amount of explosives a particular bomb receptacle can withstand from an explosion. This amount of explosives is referred to as the explosive containment rating.During testing. it is essential to anchor all bomb receptacles to a steel and concrete slab in order to create a real life deployment scenario, Tests conducted on a dirt surface are misleading because the majority of the blast energy is absorbed by the ground instead of the receptacle, which will be doing all of the work during an actual attack.Before purchasing any bomb resistant waste receptacle. it is important to obtain an official lest rep0rl that confirms how the product was tested, ensuring an accurate explosives containment rating was obtained. The report should come from a recognized U.S. testing facility and must include the type of explosives used. how the explosives were packed, and what the explosives were packed inside of to ensure an equal explosives charge was listed for every test. Be certain the test report incorporates close-up post detonation photos and is accompanied by the actual video footage taken from the testing.Before analyzing an official test report and watching the supporting video. it is very important to understand what determines a successful test. Once the testing guidelines are established by an independent testing facility. determining what constitutes a successful test is rather obvious. The bomb receptacle must remain standing after the explosion. the stainless steel top must remain attached to the receptacle, and there can be no penetration to the outer wall of the receptacle.In addition to tests using C4 or TNT to measure blast energy containment. fragmentation containment tests should also be conducted with pipe bombs.During an explosion in a bomb resistant trash receptacle. the initial blast energy and fragmentation is contained horizontally and the remaining blast energy is directed vertically. For this reason, the garbage liner that holds the trash bags in place should be made of a plastic material as opposed to metal, because parts of the liner will become airborne during an explosion.The cover of this issue features a side wall explosion using C4 explosives, and the close lip post detonation photo of the same. These photos were taking at the testing site and all tests were conducted at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMTRC) located in Socorro. New Mexico. EMRTC is an independent testing facility that is well-known for developing and testing ordnance devices for the Department of Defense and Aviation industry for over 50 years.If you look closely at the post detonation photo you will notice that the receptacle was anchored to a steel and concrete slab during the tests and that the receptacle remained standing after the explosion. You will also notice that the stainless steel top ring remained attached and that the outer wall of the bomb receptacle only bulged and \Vas not penetrated from the explosion. Given all the testing parameters. This was clearly a successful test.To create a real life deployment scenario. Bomb resistant trash receptacles should be anchored during testing. II is very important from a security standpoint to know the product is tested exactly how it will be installed. Bomb receptacles that can pass a legitimate series of explosive tests and follow all the required parameters for obtaining an accurate explosive device containment rating will most likely weigh over 1000 Ibs. each. depending on the amount of explosive they were designed to withstand. During an actual terrorist attack a bomb receptacle could tip. roll, and gain a tremendous amount of momentum. endangering anybody in their path. For this reason and given the weight of each receptacle. it is recommended that all bomb receptacles be anchored when they are installed.The bomb receptacle that is featured is this issue integrates a single point stainless steel anchoring system that will withstand four thousand pounds of shear (horizontal) and tension (vertical) force. Thc nice thing about a single point anchoring system is the limited amount of time it will take to install each receptacle, a very important detail when calculating the actual cost per unit.
The main purpose of a bomb resistant trash receptacle is to look and function like an ordinary waste receptacle. However. unlike the conventional trash receptacles seen today in airports. universities, malls. and other public places, these are developed to protect people from the harmful effects of an explosion. Unfortunately. there are currently no official standards for vendors to comply with when developing bomb resistant waste receptacles. There are also no restrictions placed on buyers when purchasing this technology. This makes it important to ask the right questions and exercise good judgment when purchasing and deploying a technology of this nature.

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