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Homemade Explosives and Improvised Explosive Devices – Indicators, Availability, Effects


Content Provider:
Canadian Security Intelligence Service


Length (in hours)
1.5 hours

Release Date
January 2020

Registration Process Register

Homemade explosives (HMEs) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have been long recognized as terrorists and criminals’ weapon of choice due to their wide precursor availability, relative ease of construction, destructive capacity, and psychological impact. Understanding the dangers of these materials and being able to identify the potential indicators of HME and IED manufacturing will help first responders recognize potential suspicious activities, ensure that they keep themselves and the public safe, and convey key information to local law enforcement or explosive disposal units.

This 60-90 minute e-learning course covers HME and IED fundamentals and shares important case studies. It highlights the availability of explosive precursors and shows how they can be turned into deadly explosives. The course demonstrates appropriate language and behaviour to be used when first responders are on the scene of a possible HME/IED production facility. It also presents an actual (sanitized) crime scene walk-through and original explosive video footage of various sizes of IEDs to demonstrate their destructive capability. Animated sequences found in the course’s shorter introductory video are also embedded in this longer and more detailed e-learning module. This course highlights that by observing, assessing and analyzing items found at the scene, it is possible to identify potential HME/IED situations before venturing too far into danger.

When you have completed this course you will be able to:

  • Recognize the key indicators of HME fabrication, including where the chemical precursors and supporting production equipment can be sourced
  • Understand the principles of how IEDs are constructed and where the components can be sourced
  • Understand the actions to be taken should you encounter a suspected bomb-making situation

Note: The video option is a high-level overview of the course material and is intended for those who are only looking for a quick overview. You do not need to view the video if your intention is to take the course as all the contents of the video are included in the course.

Target Audience

Sworn Police

Content Provider

Canadian Security Intelligence Service
Centre of Forensic Sciences
Defence Research and Development Canada
Natural Resources Canada
Ontario Provincial Police
Ottawa City Police
Ottawa Fire Services
Paramedics Association of Canada
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Winnipeg Police Services