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Recognize, Retreat, Report

Recognize, Retreat, Report

AMANDA STICKER
Three Rs Explosives Safety Program
Environmental and Munitions Center of Expertise
Huntsville, Alabama

In the wake of two recent incidents involving the discovery and detonation of live grenades, the Army’s Three Rs Explosives Safety Program is increasing its efforts to raise awareness about the dangers associated with munitions. The incidents, both involving unexploded ordnance (UXO), serve as stark reminders of the potential dangers lurking within seemingly harmless objects. As the Army works tirelessly to promote awareness and safety, it is crucial for both military personnel and civilians to remain vigilant in identifying and reporting potentially explosive devices.

The first incident took place in Hancock County, Ohio, where a local farmer made a shocking discovery while inspecting his corn crop. To his disbelief, he unearthed a live grenade from the ground, unknowingly risking his life in the process. Luckily, he immediately alerted the authorities, who promptly dispatched a specialized team to safely dispose of the hazardous device. This incident serves as a harrowing reminder of the unpredictability of UXO and the critical importance of public awareness.

Tragically, a second incident in Indiana took a far more devastating turn. A grenade, discovered among a grandfather's belongings, resulted in the loss of life and serious injuries. The incident is a heart-wrenching reminder of the lethal consequences that can arise from keeping souvenir munitions.

Such incidents emphasize the need for heightened awareness, not only within military circles but also among the public. To educate the public about the potential hazards associated with UXO, the Army has implemented outreach programs, training sessions and informational campaigns to ensure individuals understand the risks involved and are equipped with the knowledge to identify and report suspicious objects.

Since 2000, the Army’s 3Rs Explosives Safety Program, which focuses on recognizing, reporting and responding to explosive hazards, has played a pivotal role in preventing accidents and ensuring the safety of personnel and communities by promoting awareness and safe handling practices.

While incidents like the ones in Ohio and Indiana illustrate the potential consequences, they also serve as catalysts for renewed efforts to prevent such accidents. The Army's 3Rs Explosives Safety Program remains committed to its mission of educating the public about the dangers of munitions and fostering a culture of safety. Our primary objective is to ensure we keep our communities and loved ones safe. Keeping souvenir munitions as a memento poses an immediate and tangible threat to your personal safety, as well as that of your loved ones and community. If you or someone you know possesses a souvenir munition, regardless of the duration it has been held, please contact your local police immediately to report it.

Munitions are designed to be dangerous. Military personnel use our lands and waters across the United States for live-fire training and testing to defend our nation. As a result, ammo may be present on both land and in the water. No matter what you call it — ammo, explosives, UXO, duds or souvenirs — remember that munitions are dangerous and can explode if approached, touched, moved or disturbed. Because munitions come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they may be easy or hard to identify.

If you think you see a munition, do not go near it and follow the 3Rs.

  • Recognize — when you may have encountered a munition and that munitions are dangerous.
  • Retreat — do not approach, touch, move or disturb it but carefully leave the area.
  • Report — call 911 and advise the police of what you saw and where you saw it.

It is imperative everyone remains vigilant and proactive in reporting any suspicious objects to local authorities. By working together and spreading awareness, we can ensure a safer future for all. For more information, visit https://3Rs.mil.

  • 24 March 2024
  • Author: USACRC Editor
  • Number of views: 170
  • Comments: 0
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