Military munitions by any name (unexploded ordnance or UXO, dud, training round, war trophy, souvenir, training simulator) are dangerous.
Too often, these dangerous explosives find their way into the hands of people who are unaware of the risk, ending in tragedy. People are often surprised to learn that simulators and other training munitions can be almost as dangerous as "live ammunition." Over time, trophy munitions may be found in closets or old trunks, collections or displays, garbage cans and dumpsters. Others are thrown away along roads, in fields or parks. Unfortunately, many are only discovered after a tragic accident occurs. All too often, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Police or Fire Department Bomb Squad personnel are dispatched to houses, parks, and playgrounds to identify and dispose of military munitions (ammo).
A recent example of this danger occurred in California, when two small children were killed and several others were injured from a souvenir that they were playing with that detonated. An adult had kept the munition as a souvenir for over 15 years, and believed it to be safe, allowed the children to play with it.
Military munitions are designed for use in warfare and should never be kept as a souvenir. Regardless of size, type, age, or condition, all military munitions should be considered extremely dangerous. Even Civil War cannon balls can be deadly. In most cases, only specially trained personnel, such as EOD or bomb squad personnel, can determine the dangers associated with military munitions.
To protect yourself, your family, friends and neighbors, the Department of Defense and the Army recommend you learn, remember and teach your children the 3Rs of explosives safety: RECOGNIZE - when you may have encountered a munition; RETREAT - do not touch, move or disturb it, but leave the area; REPORT - call 911 and inform the police of what you saw and where you saw it.
Military munitions are most likely present in areas such as training ranges on active or former military installations, but they can be encountered anywhere. Even inside a home as a war souvenir. Regardless of how long they may have been kept, war souvenirs or trophies retain their explosive power and remain dangerous, especially when falsely believed to be safe because they have been handled for years.
If you or your family has a munition that was kept as a war souvenir, even one that has been kept for years, call 911 or local law enforcement to report it. They will arrange for support from DoD Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) or police bomb squad personnel to retrieve the munitions and destroy them safely.
RECOGNIZE — when you may have encountered a munition.