I wanna be a bomb disposal officer
By Joyce Siu
What qualifications do you need?
First of all, you must be at the rank of inspector with the Hong Kong Police. You will need to join the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Cadre team as a volunteer. Those who have been shortlisted need to go through a series of training and assessment exercises. Each year, about nine police inspectors apply to be an EOD Cadre. But only one or two will be chosen. Once you've been selected as a full-time bomb disposal officer, you need to go through another four years of training.
What sort of person does the job suit?
Someone who has leadership and problem-solving skills. The ability to handle stress is also important because every assignment is a life-and-death situation.
What's the best way into the industry?
There's no other way to get into this field unless you're a police inspector and EOD Cadre.
What work hours do you keep?
On top of the basic office hours from Monday to Saturday, we have to be on call 24 hours for seven days every month. During the on-call period, we have to be able to report to headquarters within five minutes during the daytime and 30 minutes at nighttime. This means that we cannot leave Hong Kong during the on-call period.
Is there a clear career path?
Yes. It's a professional lifetime career. But the job doesn't have great promotion prospects because there are only four bomb disposal officers in Hong Kong.
What is the best part of your job?
Definitely the self-advancement aspect and job satisfaction.
What is the worst?
It's a tough job. Sometimes we have to work in highly polluted areas, such as deep seabed, to dispose of a wartime bomb. It's easy to get a skin allergy.
My current salary is $80,000 but it will be reduced to $79,000 at the end of this year due to budget cutbacks in the police force. Our salary is determined by the government.
Be flexible and don't just follow the book during an assignment because there are many different ways to dispose a bomb.