Morphix Technologies is an innovator in the science of detection devices for dangerous chemicals. One of the important products the company distributes is its TraceX Explosives Detection Kit. As the threats from Homemade Explosives (HMEs) continue to grow, both from domestic threats and radical Islamic terrorists, the Morphix TraceX Explosives Detection Kit is a tool that law enforcement agencies should begin seriously considering for a variety of enforcement actions.
Whether trying to stop an explosives attack before it happens, or investigating an incident after it’s occurred, the safety of officers and first responders is paramount. It is important for officers to have the tools they need to keep people safe. The TraceX Explosives Detection Kit is extremely portable and easy to use, and can provide that critical protection.
TraceX Explosives Detection Kit
Morphix Technologies is based out of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Their base of operations is very close to the home of the American Atlantic Fleet at Norfolk, Virginia, and the Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group Two based out of Little Creek, Virginia. The company began in 1991 with the purpose of providing military and law enforcement users with color-coded chemical agent detection devices. Since then the company has expanded into explosives detection as well, with the TraceX Explosives Detection Kit entering service in 2013.
“With all of the recent terrorist attacks throughout the world that have utilized HMEs, we felt it was important to get the word out there about the TraceX Explosives Detection Kit. This commercial will help inform the law enforcement community of the TraceX Kit’s many benefits. Ideally, every officer in the field should be equipped with this rugged, reliable and easy-to-use kit to help them identify bombers, bomb-makers and their bomb-making facilities,” commented Kimberly Pricenski, VP of Sales and Marketing for Morphix Technologies.
The TraceX Explosives Detection Kit is an affordable and easy-to-use product. Hand-held and light-weight, the Kit aids in the detection of major explosive material threats and their precursors in a single test. In addition, the Kit was designed so end-users would not be required to exposing the kit to contamination or the user to dangerous chemicals.
The TraceX Explosives Detection Kit was developed by Morphix Technologies under contract from the U.S. Department of Defense and meets all DoD demanding requirements. It is small enough to fit in a cargo pocket, lightweight and rugged. Each kit comes in its own disposable protective plastic case, so the handler will be ready to use it when needed.
With a single swab, the TraceX explosives detection device can detect trace amounts of all the major families of explosive materials and their precursors. The TraceX’s simple color-change alert system provides a single color to indicate the presence of a particular family of explosive material. The end-user no longer has to conduct a series of tests, and then try to correctly interpret the results.
TraceX Explosives Detection Kit Tests
The Morphix Technologies TraceX Explosives Detection Kit can positively identify the following common explosive materials that law enforcement officers may confront on duty:
- HMTO, TMTP
- Chlorates, Bromates
- TNT, DNT, Tetryl
- HMX, RDX, EGDN, PETN
- Nitrates (Ammonium, Urea)
- Bases, Acids
- Each Box comes with (5) Test Kits
- MSRP: $150.00.
The officer simply uses the included testing bar and swab to collect some of the suspicious substance. The substance is then placed upon the testing strip inside of the TraceX Kit. After only a few seconds the TraceX Explosives Detection Kit will provide a colored dot highlighting the type of explosives material encountered. If there is no explosives, then there will not be any response indication.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Though the TraceX Explosives Detection Kit is designed to keep officer’s hands and skin away from suspicious powders, the marketing video shows exposed hands when conducting the test. BSD would recommend that officers use every Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) available to them when around suspicious substances. This would include latex and perhaps heavier-style gloves, long-sleeves or other arm protection, eye protection, and either a gas mask or other approved air filtration device.
Homemade Explosives (HME) and Law Enforcment
Explosives continue to be a weapon of choice for terrorists around the world. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are a threat from international terrorist organizations and local, home-grown terrorists as well. Home Made Explosives (HMEs) are becoming even more frequent that the IEDs, such as pipe bombs, law enforcement is more familiar with. Recent attacks on American targets have included both types of explosive devices.
The San Bernardino terrorists had numerous HME’s in their possession and at their house. The Boston Marathon bombers used an easily obtained design for a pressure-cooker IED, and then used multiple HME’s while being pursued by police. The Paris terrorists used firearms and explosives during their murderous attack.
Military, law enforcement and intelligence personnel have a dual-role: uncovering the bomb networks and systems before the bombers do harm, and investigating an incident after it occurs. In many cases, detecting just a trace of explosive material can make all the difference.
The TraceX explosives detection kit is designed to help identify bombers, bomb-makers and their bomb-making facilities. It detects the most common explosive materials and their precursors at trace levels in a single test.
TraceX vs. Electronic Explosives Detection Kits
The more common portable electronic explosive detection devices require a great deal of specialized training, a large budget and regular maintenance. Law enforcement EOD teams should still maintain these electronic portable trace explosive detectors and larger explosive trace detection systems. However, in the field or when tactical teams are entering structures, there is a growing demand for colorimetric explosive trace detection kits.
A number of these kits have existed for some time; however they often require the user to mix chemicals, perform serial analyses, conduct multiple swabs or tests, and then use a chart to interpret the results. This level of skill and knowledge makes existing explosive trace detection kits difficult to use, especially in stressful situations. In addition, many explosive trace detection kits can expose the user to dangerous chemicals, and expose the kit to contamination from the environment or the user, leading to unreliable results.
Some of the available colorimetric explosives detection devices can only be used for bulk detection. In attempting to identify the actual bomber, it is typically only trace amounts that will be found and provide the necessary evidence for conviction. When investigators are examining possible suspect locations to confirm where explosives were made or stored, it is incredibly important to be able to test for trace amounts of explosives.
The TraceX explosives detection kit is much more convenient, simple to use and relatively inexpensive. As the name implies, TraceX is sensitive enough to be used for explosives trace detection. It detects bulk explosives too. The TraceX explosives detection kit is available in boxes of five kits.
In my career I have come across explosives on nearly a dozen incidents. One elderly “collector” had hand grenades, land mines, and a fully active 105mm artillery round, not to mention several hundred military ammunition rounds ranging from 5.56mm to 20mm rounds. Another felon exited his room and threatened our SWAT team holding a dummy grenade. In the most amazing event I’ve been a part of a massive meth cook used a stolen Claymore mine to detonate his active meth lab as we surrounded his house awaiting the search warrant. His lab had several 55-gallon drums of chemicals and was using a 72L flask to make anywhere from 10-20 pounds of meth each week.
Our EOD Team has come across everything from sparkler bombs and dry ice bombs, to serious pipe bombs and elaborate remote-detonated explosives. The fact is there is an ever-increasing threat from explosives and the line officers need to have the resources to know what they are getting into. Though Morphix would love to see a TraceX kit in the hands of every police officer, I do see a legitimate reason for each department to have at least 1-2 boxes (5-10 test kits).
The TraceX Explosives Detection Kit is about as easy as it gets. It is very portable, and simply requires swabbing the suspicious substance, placing the substance on the test pad, and awaiting the TraceX kit to identify what the officers are facing. Once a positive indication is received officers can call in EOD and let the professionals handle clean-up.