Finding explosives or munitions

Many wars and post-war periods have left all sorts of munitions in the ground. An average of 3,500 explosives are found every year from Estonia. All explosives may look very different and emerge from unpredictable locations. Explosives have been built to kill, injure or cause major damage. Their rusty or distorted appearance may be deceptive and their behavior may be unpredictable and explosive.

How to recognize an explosive?

Explosives can be of various different sizes and shapes. The main explosives found in Estonia are cartridges, mines or mine throwers, hand grenades, and shells. Meanwhile, several airplane bombs and explosives have also been found.

Once you've found an explosive!
• Do not touch the explosive. The move can activate it
• Report the find to 112 and follow the instructions
• Warn people in the vicinity and do not let anyone near the object found

The Estonian Rescue Board bomb groups are always ready to respond to a bomb scare. Changes in the international security environment have made the population cautious about suspicious packages or unidentified luggage. In case of detecting a suspicious object, you should always think beforehand what the danger may be and whether reporting of the find is justified.

If you think that it is an orphan explosive object then:
• Do not touch the suspected bomb. The move can activate it
• Report the find to 112 and be available to the EOD team on the phone
• Warn people in the vicinity and do not let anyone near the object found.

The Estonian Rescue Board bomb squads who respond to the challenges 24/7 perform explosive ordinance removal in mainland and inland water bodies. They are mostly engaged in the destruction of old unexploded ordnances. They are also ready to respond to suspected bomb and explosion-related incidents. If you have found an object that is a potentially explosive object or an object similar to an explosive device, do not touch it under any circumstances, but report it to the phone 112.

Main myths

Myth 1
It takes a long time for the bomb squad to arrive. I cannot wait for it there on the spot!
The bomb group is on guard 24/7 and responds instantly to each event. When they are occupied, the location and the level of risk of finding will be specified with the caller. It is always better to show the location of the find, but if this is not possible, the caller will be asked to mark the location of the explosive, and the bomb squad will identify the exact location by telephone.

Myth 2
Reporting of a bomb finding involves a lot of hassle and maybe even punishment!
The voluntary assignment of explosive substances does not entail excessive obligations on the finder. Reporting of the finding is essential for the elimination of danger and is a legal obligation of the citizen. The voluntary assignment of explosive substances does not take place only within a campaign but year-round.

Myth 3
I suspect that this may be a dangerous item, but I am not sure. Just to be on the safe side, I will rather not report - maybe I will be punished if the object is not explosive!
The explosive devices are very different in size, shape, and appearance. The bomb squad does not expect the caller to identify the danger independently; this is the task of the EOD group. If the object is not explosive, no punishment will follow for the caller.

Myth 4
Rusty and deformed explosives are not so dangerous because they are old or they no longer work
A lot depends on the construction of the explosive, but in general, the reality is the opposite. The more deformed and rusty the explosive is the more dangerous it is. The sensitive explosive inside the trigger mechanism is in the same working order and dangerous even now, decades later. Although the trigger mechanism may no longer be operational, the friction caused by the smallest piece of soil or rust may still trigger it.

Myth 5
Smaller explosive devices are less dangerous
In general, the smaller the explosive is, the fewer fuses there are in its trigger mechanism. So they are eventually more dangerous. The magnitude of the explosion impact of smaller explosives is not high, but it is sufficient to kill or cause serious injury in the vicinity.