Bomb squad upgrades robot

LIMA — A robot can be an essential tool for the local bomb squad. The use of robotics by the Allen County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency was first introduced in 2005. The technical device allows for the bomb squad technicians to safely inspect potential bomb threats without additional risk.

Today, the Allen County bomb squad utilizes an f6b robot that assists during investigations. In 2019, the bomb squad utilized this same device to inspect a suspicious package outside of Bob Evans located on Harding Highway.

Robotic technology continues to aid in the department’s effort to combat threats to public safety.

Bomb squads across the United States are first responders to threats of explosions. In Allen County, the team was created in the early 1970s.

In addition to servicing Allen County, our local bomb squad serves 11 other counties in the State of Ohio.

“The team serves the 12 counties in Northwest Ohio,” said EMA Director Tom Berger. “We are deployable throughout the State and the nation. The team is a fully accredited FBI bomb squad.”

Allen County, Ohio Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management requested to apply for a grant to upgrade their technology.

On Thursday morning, the department requested an upgrade. The State of Ohio offers a grant to Homeland Security in the amount of $250,000 for a robot response vehicle and $165,000 to upgrade the f6b robot.

If approved, the grant will provide reimbursement to the department for the new upgrades.

Berger weighed in on the improvements.

“We did an upgrade about 10 years ago and now they offer a new upgrade to the robot,” said Berger. “Instead of buying a new robot, we can just replace the arm. It adds more mobility to the robot. It is a fully reticulating arm now. It allows easier openings to doors or packages. It makes it a lot easier and a lot more functional for the public safety bomb technician to do their job.”

The bomb squad robot has the ability to scan pictures and open packages without putting a safety technician close to the device. The robot is controlled by the technician who guides the device from the response vehicle.

“When we can use robots, we like to do that to minimize the risk to the bomb technician,” added Berger.