While bomb threats are often just a threat, businesses and individuals alike must be prepared and know how to properly respond to a bomb threat. Bombings are actually the most prevalent attack method worldwide. In fact, there were over 400 bombs discovered in the United States in 2015 alone. Neglecting to understand proper bomb threat protocol is setting yourself and your business up for failure. Preparis held a webinar on, “How to Optimize Bomb Threat Management” with guest speaker, Bill Hildebrand, CEO & Protective Security Consultant at NationWatch Protective Advisors. This blog focuses on information gathered from the webinar.

Here are a few more recent trends of bombings:

  • Lone actors are becoming more of a trend
  • Armed assault is the 2nd most common method of attack
  • Pipe bombs and over pressure devices are the most common type of bombings.
  • Between 2012-2017, there have been over 7,000 bomb threats in the United States.
  • In 60 instances, an actual device was found (less than 1%)

Motivations for Bomb Threats:

  1. Warning (no intent to kill) and/or disruption – Often, a bomb threat might be made in attempt to disturb an event. During the webinar, Bill mentioned this was common when the circus was in Atlanta.
  2. Extortion – A threat might include that they will blow up a building if a demand is not met.
  3. Take credit for the action – Certain groups might make a bomb threat in order to take credit for it and induce fear of their group.

Creating a Bomb Threat Plan

The best way to ensure that you know what to do in the event your business experiences a bomb threat is to create a plan. Once you have a plan, you have a much better understanding of proper bomb threat protocol.

Here are suggestions for creating a plan:

  • Create a risk management team and understand the environment
  • Identify potential risks using an infrastructure survey tool such as a risk assessment or vulnerability assessment for your facility
  • Develop a plan for responding and notifying public safety
  • Include public safety in your planning process
  • Include an intelligence component to your plan
  • Evaluate, exercise and modify the plan on a continual basis
  • Identify team members
    • Search team
    • Evacuation team
    • Law enforcement and public safety liaison
    • Runners (face-to-face communications if a suspicious item is found)

Bomb Threat Procedures

  • For telephoned threats:
    • Establish a checklist and procedures
    • Caller ID
    • Talk as long as possible, ask questions and take notes
    • Notify response team before law enforcement

To download Preparis’ Telephone Bomb Threat checklist, click here.

  • For verbal threats:
    • Notify security personnel
    • Document and photograph, if possible
  • For written threats:
    • Photograph in place, if possible
    • Save all materials (envelopes, paper etc.)
    • Minimize handling
  • For e-mailed threats:
    • Print computer screen, if possible
    • Discontinue use of terminal, do not turn off or erase screen
  • For social media threats:
    • Print or save screen, if possible
  • For indirect 3rd party threats:
    • Treat all threats as real
    • Identify 3rd party, if possible
    • Notify security
  • For all threat types:
    • Remain calm
    • Notify search teams to check their assigned areas
    • Report any suspicious items or packages to security personnel and response team
    • Notify response team before law enforcement

Suspicious Items and/or Packages

Familiarize yourself and your employees with the differences between an unattended package and a suspicious package. If the package is hidden, has obvious wires, ticking noises or smell, or is not typical to the area, the package can be considered a suspicious package.

If you notice a suspicious package, use the following procedures:

  • Recognize
  • Avoid
  • Isolate
  • Notify

Additionally, remember the following when handling a suspicious package:

  • Turn off all electronic communication devices within 25 feet
  • Leave with personal items
  • DO NOT move the package or alter the environment where the package is located.

When it comes to evacuating, use the following protocol:

  • Determine evacuation area per evacuation plan
  • Have a secondary evacuation area
  • Check the evacuation area prior to occupying
  • Implement accountability procedures

To download Preparis’ Suspicious Package checklist click here.

Learn more about how Preparis can help prepare your business for any threat, including, but not limited to, a bomb threat by requesting a demo today.