Operation Flashpoint partners with the Earlham Building Center

In an effort to raise awareness and provide education on how businesses and the public can prevent bombings in their communities, Operation Flashpoint hosted an education kick-off event Earlham Building Center in Earlham, Iowa.

Leaders with Madison County Emergency The Office of Management and Homeland Security teamed up with representatives of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the FBI for the local launch of Operation Flashpoint. The Office for Bombing Prevention (OBP), part of CISA, offers resources for retail store owners to educate them about indoor terrorism and how to prevent it through Operation Flashpoint.

The state of Iowa has experienced significant threats of potential bombing situations this year. In June 2022, law enforcement apprehended a bomb suspect who planted incendiary devices at multiple locations at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Madison County has participated in CISA’s Bomb-Making Materials Awareness Community Liaison Program since February 2022.

“Business owners, our residents and our visitors are the eyes and ears of our community,” says Diogenes Ayala, Madison County Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “By learning to spot suspicious behavior or a stockpile of these types of chemicals, they can potentially help law enforcement stop an attack before it happens.”

The objectives of Operation Flashpoint include early detection of the sale of bomb-making materials by individuals engaging in suspicious behavior and the creation of a network of stakeholders who are willing to speak up if they see something suspicious.

Through in-person outreach and CISA Bomb-Making Materials Awareness Program (BMAP), businesses can receive free tips, educational videos, and training resources that are common sense, simple to implement, and have minimal impact on operations.

CISA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been holding outreach events across the country since June 2021, when they held a pilot launch event at Revell Ace hardware in Clinton, Mississippi. They also hosted a campaign awareness event at Joseph’s hardware store in Fort Collins, Colorado, in August.