When your toilet is backed up, threatening to burst all over your bathroom, you call a professional. When the Canadian government stumbles upon some of the thousands of tons of unexploded ordnance (UXO) littering our country, they call Raynald Tremblay.
Ray is a bomb hunter whose show, the aptly named Bomb Hunters, premieres this fall on History. The former Canadian Forces combat engineer served from 1981 to 2001 and specialized in combat diving and demining. After working as a UXO Technician for two years following retirement from the CF, he founded his own company, Mine/EODCLR Inc. (Mine/EOD) in 2003.
UXO clearance operations are something that most people associate with Western Europe, the Balkans or other well-trod theatres of war.
During World War II, thousands of Allied troops were welcomed to Canada to train at bases from coast to coast. Up to about 150 km north of the border with the States, Allies trained – and blew lots of stuff up.
Of course, it’s not the things that exploded that Ray worries about. It’s the things that didn’t. Millions of tons of ordnance — bombs, rockets, grenades and mortars — were fired and approximately one in twenty-five failed to detonate. At least 700 sites have been identified that need clearing.
“The program is still categorizing them from low-risk to high-risk,” said Ray. “High-risk [sites] need to be addressed right now.”
What can viewers expect to see?
“You’re going to see people looking for bombs, diving for bombs, bombs going off…”
Lots of cool technology will be on display. “Geophysical equipment, remote-operated vehicles looking into old military ships to find bombs.”
This isn’t like hunting for coins at the beach. While some detection equipment is available to civilians, “you gotta be a professional to work with it.”
“Don’t buy this equipment yourself and go looking for bombs. You’ll blow yourself up.”
The safer (and more entertaining) bet is tuning into Bomb Hunters when it premieres September 1 on History.