The typical bomb has four major components: a power source, a switch, an initiator and an explosive.
The more than 100 special Easter eggs wired up by the Rhode Island Bomb Squad on Thursday have a similar mixture of components.
But these eggs don’t blow up.
They beep. That means a child with a visual impairment can find them and experience the thrill of an Easter egg hunt by hearing rather than seeing the egg.
Last year, following the lead of their counterparts in Texas, Rhode Island’s squad wired up 25 of the eggs. The squad offered the eggs to families to use in their own Easter egg hunts.
The reception to the eggs was so great that the squad will host an Easter egg hunt on the State House lawn for children with visual impairments.
On Thursday, an array of brightly colored plastic eggs looked out of place in the shop area of the squad’s headquarters, which is near the State Fire Academy in Exeter.
The squad’s commander and three technicians hovered over the eggs, installing a small speaker in each one and wiring it to both a switch and a small battery.
The members of the squad, each of them armed, had volunteered some vacation time to make the eggs in the same place where they frequently rig up devices that help them hone their techniques for defusing bombs.
The squad’s Technical Services Unit is part office, part garage, part locker room. A phrase painted on the wall in the front entryway says: Initial Success … or Total Failure.
It has bomb-defusing robots and trucks that carry those robots. The members of the squad maintain $4 million in equipment and each of them has a robot, said Deputy Bruce E. Quinn.
In training exercises, the beep of a speaker notifies a technician that the attempt to defuse the simulated explosive device has failed.
“They call it a penalty,” he said.
At next week’s egg hunt, the eggs will be spread out on the lawn. The beepers will be turned on. And the eggs will be surrounded with candy left by the Easter Bunny.
“Every other young kid gets to enjoy this,” said Rhode Island State Fire Marshal Tim McLaughlin. “They get to do the Easter egg hunt. These young adults and children don’t have an opportunity.”
About 100 of them have signed up to participate in the squad’s egg hunt at the State House on Thursday, April 18, which will start between 1 and 1:15 p.m.