This Independence Day weekend, many of us will celebrate our nation’s birth with family and friends.  Many of our local communities really get into the spirit, like DuPont’s “Hometown Celebration;” Steilacoom’s 33rd Annual “Four on the Fourth” cross country run; and Tacoma’s “Summer Blast.”

However, for our first responders this is also one of the busiest weekends of the year as some celebrations go awry and common sense becomes in short supply.  And one of our Sheriff Department’s specialized teams is guaranteed to be busy – the Bomb Squad!

I had the chance to spend some time with our Bomb Squad during their training day at the Orting Quarry – a very safe place for them to practice their skills – which, of course, includes actually blowing things up!

Like all our Sheriff’s specialty units, they are highly trained and have unique tools to help them safely do their job.  But there is something different about these deputies.  When everyone else is standing safely back, they go forward into the unknown, facing a potentially deadly explosive.  They have responded to many strange situations, but the two most bizarre were an Army 155mm howitzer shell on South Hill, and an old Navy WWII mine that popped to the surface in Puget Sound!

Of course, they use technology like robots and special bomb suits, but also have a certified bomb dog (whose favorite toy is in shape of a hand grenade!), and scuba tanks!  Can you imagine dealing with a bomb underwater!

You can learn more about our Bomb Squad in this episode of Inside Pierce County.

I can’t thank enough Deputy Greg McClendon and the entire Bomb Squad for a memorable day.  However, I can assure you, I will not be applying for any openings on the Squad!

You have to be a very cool customer to walk down range to confront what could be a very explosive situation.  I am so thankful that our Bomb Squad has nerves of steel!

So, this weekend celebrate safely and don’t give the Bomb Squad – or any of our first responders – a reason to visit your party!

Happy Independence Day!