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Bomb Threats – Proper Response

- March 14, 2018 by Robert Harrington (View all posts by Robert)

Bomb threats or suspicious items should always be taken seriously. How quickly and effectively you respond could save lives. Every bomb threat is unique and you should collect as much information as possible so law enforcement can best determine the credibility of the threat.

What to Do If You Receive a Bomb Threat

Bomb threats are most commonly received via phone, but can also be received in electronically, in writing, or even in person. If you receive a bomb threat, stay calm and try to get as much information as possible. Note any unique features about the voice and any background sounds you hear over the telephone. Keep the caller on the line as long as possible and take detailed notes about what is said. Record the call, if possible. Try to note the following:

  • If the speaker is male or female
  • If the speaker has a distinctive accent
  • If the voice is disguised, muffled or strange-sounding
  • If the voice is shrill or deep
  • Any background noises (e.g. traffic, bus passing, bell ringing)
  • Any indoor vs. outdoor sounds

How to Respond to a Bomb Threat

Consider all bomb threats as serious. Notify 911 immediately. Do not hang up the phone on an incoming call. Signal or email a co-worker to notify 911 immediately. If a second person is not available, call 911 from another phone. Do NOT hang up the phone on which the bomb threat  was received, use another phone to make the emergency call. Remember…keep the caller on the line as long as possible and stay calm. Below are some suggested questions to ask the caller to keep the conversation going.

When is the bomb going to explode?

What does it look like?

What kind of bomb is it?

What will cause it to explode?

Where did you place the bomb?

Where are you calling from?

What is your address?

What is your name?

You can find a sample checklist on the Department of Homeland Security’s website. Its important to remember that your safety and the safety of your co-workers is the number one priority.  Evacuation procedures should be followed as soon as possible.