Car Bomb Explosion: What to Expect

The threat of domestic terrorism has kept America on its toes since a group of enemies used airplanes to take down the World Trade Center, decimate the Pentagon, and take thousands of American lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

The discovery of a potentially devastating car bomb on Friday in London’s bustling Piccadilly Circus (Click here to read the whole story) is a reminder that terrorism remains a threat for all nations, including here in America.

The first suicide terror attack using a vehicular bomb occurred in Lebanon in 1983, according to information posted on the website

On April 19 of that year, a truck bomb was detonated in front of the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. Within minutes, 63 Americans were dead and hundreds more were injured, the website says.

Injuries from vehicle bombs, in which terrorists pack thousands of pounds of explosives, range from loss of limbs, severe burns, head trauma, severe cuts and bruises, as well as death. Even those not badly injured can be affected by life-long post-traumatic stress disorder.

The numbers of people injured and killed by a car bomb depends on what type of vehicle is used in the blast. A small compact sedan, for example, can inflict lethal injuries on victims up to 100 feet away from the car and victims can be injured by falling debris and glass as far as 1,250 feet away. Security Solutions International recommends an evacuation area of at least 1,500 feet when this type of device is discovered.

For other types of vehicles the risk is as follows:

— Full-size sedans, lethal range of 125-feet, falling glass hazard up to 1,750-feet, minimum evacuation area of 1,750-feet.

— Passenger or cargo van, lethal blast range of 200 feet, falling glass hazard/minimum evacuation area of 2,750 feet

— Small box van, lethal blast range of 300 feet, falling glass hazard/minimum evacuation area of 3,750 feet

— Semi-/tractor trailer, lethal blast range of 600 feet, fall glass hazard/minimum evacuation area of 7,000 feet

Source: Security Solutions International