This report explains the rationale, objectives, and testing methodology for the current development of a standard for bomb suits (NIJ Standard-0117.00), the first such standard.
The standard is being developed by the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) at the request of the National Bomb Squad Commanders Advisory Board (NBSCAB). In explaining the rationale for such a standard, the NBSCAB Chairman has stated, "Bomb suits are in the class of equipment that users have difficulty assessing on their own, since their purpose is to protect in circumstances that rarely happen, and the consequences of failure are potentially lethal." There are approximately 470 accredited bomb squads in the United States, and each bomb squad is required to have at least 2 bomb suits. These suits should provide protection while allowing for user mobility and dexterity. The standard will detail minimum design and performance requirements for equipment and test methods that assess equipment performance, balancing the requirements against a bomb technician's need for mobility, clear vision, and dexterity. In developing the standard, optics and ergonomics capability are tested through donning and doffing, field of view, and mobility tests. The standard also includes fragmentation, flame, impact, and blast overpressure protection. Separate documents will address certification requirements and guidance on the selection and application of bomb suits.