Experts on unexploded ordnance say that public awareness is one of the best defenses against accidents. In war-torn countries like Afghanistan, the U.S. military has administered campaigns to warn civilians, especially children, of the risks of handling UXO. But in communities in the United States that are threatened by the same problem, public education has been scant.

Fortunately, practical information about UXO safety is available free to anyone with an Internet connection. While some residents of neighborhoods built on the former Camp Butner training ranges say that officials have done too little to inform the public, they’ve also found a wealth of useful sites and reports online, including these.

Former Camp Butner Project

The official Web site for the ongoing survey and cleanup efforts at the former Camp Butner, this page provides access to hundreds of pages of materials compiled by the Army Corps of Engineers and its contractor for the project, the Atlanta-based Parsons Engineering Science. Included are detailed reports on the history of the training ranges, photographs and reports on the recent UXO findings, and the minutes of public meetings about the survey and cleanup efforts.

Unexploded Ordnance (UXO): An Overview

This digest, prepared by the Defense Department Explosives Safety Board and other federal agencies, is a concise crash-course on UXO. Diagrams explain how to spot and identify various munitions, along with tips on how to report them if you do.

Unexploded Ordnance: A Reference Guide for the Citizen

This six-page brief, prepared by the Hazardous Substance Research Centers at Kent State University, offers a good glossary and statistics on the number of UXO sites in the United States. (Document is a PDF file and requires software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

Center for Public Environmental Oversight

The CPEO, a noted, California-based research group specializing on military pollution, has persistently investigated safety and cleanup issues. This page provides links to the CPEO’s free newsletters and reports, which offer up-to-date information and analysis on public policy developments related to UXO contamination.

UXO Safety Education Program

This safety curriculum prepared by the Army proves useful for parents and teachers who want to relate the dangers to children. The site offers teaching and activity guides, posters, photos of commonly encountered ordnance, and information on ordering books and videos that teach kids the “3 Rs of UXO safety”: Recognize, Retreat, Report.