By Don Winningham, ANAD Safety OfficeMay 2, 2019
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Explosives safety originated as a formal program in the U.S. in the aftermath of World War I, when several ammunition storage areas were destroyed in a series of mishaps.
The most serious occurred at Picatinny Arsenal Ammunition Storage Depot, New Jersey, in July 1926, when an electrical storm led to fires that caused explosions and widespread destruction.
Due to the political shockwave, severe property damage and 19 fatalities, Congress empowered a board of Army and Naval officers to investigate the Picatinny Arsenal disaster and determine if similar conditions existed at other ammunition depots.
The board reported in its findings that this mishap could recur, prompting Congress to establish a permanent board of colonels to develop explosives safety standards and ensure compliance, beginning in 1928.
This organization evolved into the Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board DDESB and is chartered in Title 10 of the U.S. Code.
Today, the DDESB authors DOD Manual 6055.9, Ammunition and Explosives Safety Standards. It also evaluates scientific data which may adjust those standards, reviews and approves all explosives site plans for new construction, and conducts worldwide visits to locations containing U.S. title munitions.
The U.S. Army counterpart to the DDESB is the U.S. Army Technical Center for Explosives Safety.
The USATCES is located with the Defense Ammunition Center on McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, near McAlester, Oklahoma.
USATCES is responsible for providing ammunition and explosives safety worldwide by acting as the field office of the Department of Army Safety, responsible for ammunition and explosives safety.
The USATCES also acts as the Army agency having safety oversight of clean-up of Former Used Defense Sites and Former Toxic Chemical Agent Sites where munitions from all branches of service disposed of ammunition and explosives by burial or dumping prior to the end of the Vietnam War.
The USATCES acts as the Army's safety watchdog for disposal of chemical ammunition at the Army's Chemical Disposal Facilities.
As part of Army's Ordnance Corps under TRADOC, specially trained Civilian Explosives Safety Personnel, Quality Assurance Specialist (Ammunition Surveillance), and Safety Specialists who have received specialized training in ammunition and explosives Safety from the USATCES are deployed worldwide wherever the U.S. Army has ammunition and explosives.
Their mission is to provide ammunition and explosives safety to the Soldiers, the public and the environment, making sure the Army's ammunition and explosives are not only stored safely, but ready, reliable and lethal when the U.S. military needs it.
Here at Anniston Army Depot, the Anniston Munitions Center is the primary ammunition and explosives mission holder and I am the explosives safety officer and explosives safety program manager responsible for explosives safety matters.
As the appointed explosives safety subject matter expert, I provide standards and regulatory oversight services to both the depot commander and the ANMC commander.
All individuals who discover abandoned, unattended or discarded ammunition and explosives, potential unexploded ordnance or a potential explosive hazard should use the Army's 3R process:
1. Recognize: When you may have encountered a munition or potential unexploded ordnance and recognize it is dangerous.
2. Retreat: Do not touch, move or disturb the munition or unexploded ordnance. Carefully leave the area, informing other personnel in the area of the situation and evacuating the area.
3. Report: Report any and all ammunition, explosives and suspected unexploded ordnances to your supervisor immediately and contact the Directorate of Emergency Services by dialing 6222 or 911. Relay the location of the found material to the dispatcher.
These requirements can be found in the ANAD DRK Found on Post standard operating procedure.