Preparis’ webinar “Responding to Bomb Threats & Explosions” is now available for you to watch and review with your crisis management team. In this session, two experts who have been trained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI — Bill Hildebrand and Sgt. Steve Veillon — discussed how businesses should respond to bomb threats, suspicious packages or powders, and explosions.
“In general, bombers don’t usually threaten, they bomb,” said Hildebrand, a Preparis X-Force member who served with the Dept. of Homeland Security and protected the city of Atlanta for more than 20 years. “In many cases, bomb threats are simply hoaxes. However, they are all taken seriously because there are occasions when bomb threats have been called in and the bombers did detonate a device.”
One tip from the expert panel is if your business does receive a bomb threat, immediately call 911, then inspect your surrounding areas. You and your team can recognize a suspicious package better than law enforcement, as you are more familiar with your work space. If you find a suspicious package, law enforcement’s rule of thumb is, “If you can see a package, it can see you,” Hildebrand explained.
Sgt. Veillon, a bomb technician with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, added that 300 ft. is the minimum distance to evacuate away from a suspicious package, but if there is an actual explosion, you should evacuate at least 1,000 ft. “We’re taking into account there could be a secondary device,” he stated. “If you had one device initiate, there could be a secondary device planted in a normal evacuation area.”
Also important to note is when running evacuation drills, your team should practice both going to different safety areas and areas where it would not be safe to go. For example, “you need to stay away from parking decks, because in a bomb threat scenario, the main device could be in a vehicle,” Sgt. Veillon advised.
What would you do if someone called in a bomb threat, or a suspicious package was found at your building? Download Preparis’ Bomb Threat Tabletop Drill from Preparis University to sample our training content, along with other drills and helpful checklists. Click here to view the full recording “Responding to Bomb Threats & Explosions”.
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