With today’s heightened awareness of foreign or domestic terrorism, a bomb threat can occur at any time, either through the mail or by phone. A threat can also come in the form of an unidentified or suspicious object/package received or left at a worksite or place of business.
While many threats are placed as pranks to create mischief or disrupt business, all bomb threats should be treated seriously. Everyone needs to be prepared and respond appropriately if they receive or see a threat.
Preparing for a bomb threat or other acts of violence
- Identify key emergency contact names and phones numbers in the building and have a written list readily accessible.
- Have a current written list of local fire, law enforcement, and other emergency responders.
- Create written response procedures for a bomb threat or other acts of violence.
- Choose evacuation routes, assembly areas, and alternate locations for employees to meet in the event that a threat occurs.
- Distribute a response checklist to all employees with clear written instructions, what a threat is, and what to do if a threat occurs.
- Develop a training plan for all employees.
What to do if you receive a bomb or other threat
- Remain calm and alert.
- Do not hang up if the threat comes in by phone.
- Keep the caller talking as long as you can.
- Write down the numbers that show up on the phone caller identification screen.
- Document the exact words of the threat.
- Alert your supervisor and/or others around you that you are receiving a threat.
- Listen for any distinguishing sounds such as traffic, animals, voices, tone, and accent of the caller.
- Call 911 after the caller hangs up, or have a coworker call 911 if you are still on the phone with the caller.
Make a response checklist and keep it available
- What is the threat?
- When will the bomb explode?
- Where is the bomb?
- What kind of bomb is it?
- Did you place the bomb?
- What will set the bomb off?
- Why are you doing this?
- Do you know your threat could kill or injure many people, including bystanders?
A bomb or other threat does not mean an automatic evacuation of the building. It is important to calmly evaluate each threat situation to determine the best course of action.
- Question and rate the risk posed by the threat: does it seem credible, was the caller identified, does it sound like there may be additional bombs or other threats?
- Work with law enforcement to determine the best course of action, which may include staying in the building, searching for the device, or an evacuation.
- Communicate to employees that there are security concerns in the building and that they should stand by for instructions.
- If an evacuation is ordered, follow routine evacuation procedures; check the routes and assembly areas for secondary bombs and suspicious items.
- If a device is identified, do not touch it. Report it immediately to appropriate personnel, and secure the area.
A bomb or any other threat is a serious emergency. Set your procedures, identify emergency leaders, and train all of your employees to help them remain calm, make informed decisions, and react appropriately.
The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for medical advice or legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations, or standards.