Bomb Squad prepares for threats after Austin bombings, robots ready


After Austin, Texas’ string of bombings Fresno Police’s Bomb Squad is preparing in case a similar scenario would happen in the Central Valley.

Twice a month the bomb squad trains to keep up with national security guidelines and to stay ready for for any possible incident.

Every pivot and each turn of its wheels brings it to life — one of Fresno Police Department Bomb Squad’s master robots. Technicians practice their control techniques and its new functions.

“It can do everything you and I can do. It can climb stairs, open doors, pick up things,” said Fresno Police Sergeant Curtis Chastain.

When there’s a suspected explosive the squad uses the robots, that move and record video in real time, to go into scenes first. They are machines that could save the life of a first responder.

“It’s a skill we don’t take lightly. If you become complacent it’s your life at stake,” said Chastain.

Staying up on technology is one way he said his team prepare for potential terrorist threats or incidents like Austin.

“It put us on a higher alert. We were watching the reports daily — looking at the make up of those devices to see if it’s something we recognized,” he said.

A curious copy cat is their most common call.

“The majority of bombings is that person of curiosity or show off in front of friends who want to build something with the largest bang or the loudest boom,” said Chastain,.

Last year Fresno’s Bomb Squad was called to over 30 bomb threat calls. About half were actual explosives.

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