Peroxide-based homemade explosives (HMEs) such as TATP and HMTD are often the weapons of choice for terrorists because they can be made from readily-available materials. These explosives can be employed in tandem with high explosives such as PETN, RDX, and TNT or other HMEs such as those based on ammonium nitrate or potassium chlorate. Well-trained explosive-detecting K-9s are an essential part of any program to detect these explosives and protect ourselves from them. To safely train those K-9s requires training scents that ARE real explosives but are specially treated so they cannot explode.
Manufacturing, Packaging, and Testing
MANUFACTURING: TrueScent training scents start life as authentic explosives manufactured in a safe laboratory setting. These explosives are then desensitized into a non-explosive form by combining it with an odorless filler material.
PACKAGING: The solid scent material is placed into a "breather" bag through which the scent signature can be dispersed during training. For transport and storage that breather bag is placed in a non-permeable, anti-contamination pouch that extends the shelf-life of the scent. When handled and stored properly, the training scents are quite stable.
TESTING: We routinely test our products for quality and stability. In addition an independent nationally-recognized government agency designed and executed validation testing of TrueScent materials.
The first part of the study was a carefully designed Forward Validation Test. Thirty (30) K-9s were imprinted with TATP and HMTD from an alternate validated source of the pure explosive materials. The imprinted K-9s were then exposed to the Signature Science TrueScent training materials to determine the alert rate. All K-9s consistently alerted on the TrueScent materials.
The second part of the study was a Reverse Validation Test. Ten (10) “green” K-9s were imprinted using the TrueScent TATP and HMTD scent training materials along with other explosives as part of a regular imprinting schedule. The imprinted K-9s were then exposed to the pure TATP and HMTD explosive materials and the alert rate was determined. The K-9s consistently alerted on the "real" explosive materials. The study proved that TrueScent Training Scents have addressed a critical need related to K-9 training for the detection of home made explosives.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) prohibits transporting TATP, HMTD, and other high explosive materials on the nation's roadways except under very special circumstances. It's easy to see why they are so cautious. These are dangerous materials.
Since many TrueScent products contain these materials, we needed to prove to the DOT that our versions could not explode. We hired a third-party safety testing firm to perform the DOT recommended "United Nations Series" of tests for each of our scent materials. This protocol includes thermal stability tests, external fire tests, and simulated bulk auto ignition test (SBAT).
TrueScent K-9 Training Aids did not exhibit any explosive or hazardous properties in these tests and the DOT has approved us to ship them via commercial carrier without restrictions.
Storage and Stability
All of our training materials are considered non-energetic. No ATF permit is required for storage. With the exception of HMTD, all TrueScent products can be stored for up to one year when stored properly. We recommend storing all materials in a refrigerator or freezer when not in use.
The storage of HMTD requires special attention. Pure HMTD is inherently unstable, and the explosive substance will quickly degrade or even disappear completely if it is not stored appropriately. We ran a study to determine the ideal storage conditions for HMTD.
THE RESULTS: HMTD scent samples should always be kept frozen when not in use. They can be stored for at least six months at freezer temperature and will be only 30% degraded after 240 days.