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A Guide for Investigating Bomb and Explosion Scenes: Completing and Recording the Scene Investigation

After collecting and processing scene evidence, the lead investigator and other members of the investigation team must document and complete the scene investigation. They should follow these steps:

Make sure all investigative steps are documented. The investigator should review all documentation before releasing the scene.

The investigator should verify that the following has been completed:

  • Major events and time lines related to the incident have been documented.
  • Personnel access log has been completed.
  • Activity log has been completed.
  • Interviews and events have been reviewed.
  • A narrative description of the scene has been included.
  • Photo and video logs have been entered.
  • Diagrams, sketches and evidence mapping has been included.
  • Evidence recovery log has been completed.

Ensure that scene processing is complete. The investigator and all personnel must review and conclude the scene investigation.

The investigator and all personnel should perform a critical review of the scene investigation:

  • Discuss preliminary scene findings and critical issues that arose during the incident.
  • Ensure that all identified evidence is in custody.
  • Recover and inventory equipment.
  • Decontaminate equipment and personnel.
  • Photograph and/or videotape the final condition of the scene just before it is released.
  • Address legal considerations.
  • Discuss postscene issues (e.g., forensic testing, insurance inquiries, interview results, criminal histories).
  • Communicate and document postscene responsibilities.

Release the scene. The lead investigator should document the scene's release and communicate known health and safety issues from the scene to a receiving authority.

Upon releasing the scene, the investigator should:

  • Address public health and safety issues:
    • Contact public utilities.
    • Evaluate biological and chemical hazards.
    • Evaluate structural integrity issues.
    • Assess environmental issues.
  • Identify a receiving authority for the scene.
  • Ensure disclosure of all known health and safety issues to a receiving authority.
  • Document the time and date of release, who the scene is being released to, and by whom it is released.

Submit reports to appropriate national databases. The investigator or agency's authorized administration must submit detailed technical reports on explosive devices to national databases. These data help authorities identify serial bombers, explosive devices used, and the need for uniform procedures and further development of equipment.

The investigator or administration should submit reports to these databases:

Date Modified: December 15, 2009