So-called 'works bombs' can cause injury

Submitted by:
PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie


What do you get when you combine water, sodium hydroxide (more commonly known as drain cleaner, particularly “Drain-O” or its myriad low-cost variant imitators), and a handful of small balls of aluminum foil in a plastic soda bottle? On first evaluation, you get some random trash. But when a person grabs and disturbs this debris, what you actually have on your hands (or what’s left of your hands) is a very significant “boom” that can leave you without a number of your fingers (or worse).

These things are often called “Works Bombs” apparently after the brand name of a particular Drain-O knock off, and despite being incredibly low-tech, they’re very effective at causing significant bodily harm if not disposed of properly.

Admittedly, these things have been around a while, but with summertime heat often comes an uptick in the mischief caused by people who simply have more time on their hands than brains in their heads. Because people are — for the most part — total knuckleheads, these little devices are increasingly being found left in mailboxes or other such places, ostensibly as “practical jokes.”

Are these devices deadly? No. Would one ruin your whole day? Probably. Check out the below video...

Stay safe out there.

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community.

On a daily basis, Doug is in close personal contact with some of the top subject-matter experts in law enforcement, regularly tapping into the world-class knowledge of officers and trainers from around the United States, and working to help spread that information and insight to the hundreds of thousands of officers who visit PoliceOne every month.

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

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