AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Amarillo bomb squad is upgrading their department and their equipment.
“For the first time in the history of the team, now we have a female officer on the team, which is cool. You know a lot of times you hear that women didn’t have opportunities, and that has not been the case here. I want to say I’ve worked for the Amarillo police department for 26 years and we have all the same opportunities that the men do,” said Sergeant Carla Burr.
Not only is the team expanding, but it is time to update some of their equipment. The normal life span of a bomb suit is anywhere between 7 to 10 years. Because the team takes such good care of their equipment, the suits are well past their expiration date.
“One is at 14 and the other is at 19, and so they are past their expected life span. The bomb team sergeant and the team take really good care of their equipment and so they are still able to use them. Ideally we want them to be in the most updated and most effective equipment for the job that they do and are expected to do,” said Burr.
These suits are very heavy, but the new ones are supposed to be slightly lighter.
“They are telling me this weighs about 125 pounds all together. I know the helmet is super heavy. I’ve not put it on, but I’ve held it. The new one is 75 to 100 pounds, so they are a little lighter, a little more efficient. It’s a lot of equipment, but the purpose behind that you know is it’s got to protect them from a blast, that is hopefully not going to happen. So it needs to be pretty solid,” said Burr.
This team is part of the Amarillo Police Department, but they are constantly being called out to events across the Panhandle.
“We have understandings and agreements with many of the other agencies in the top 26 counties in the Panhandle. They answer calls in those areas all the time, go out on un-exploded ordinances, suspicious packages, bomb threats, anything like that. No one else in this region has a bomb squad, even I think I’ve been told that maybe even in southwest Kansas, Oklahoma, this region, so they are used quite often,” said Burr.
The new suits will be arriving soon.