13 Must-haves of a Bomb Threat Policy

            For many organizations, responding to bomb threats can pose some difficult problems. It is not something that happens every day, but at the same time is not uncommon.

In light of the devastation from the bombs at the Boston Marathon, it is a good time to review your organizations’ bomb threat response plans. There are some common misconceptions and a solid bomb threat policy and procedure will help employees respond safely. It is vital to have a plan that is in sync with local police and that staff or faculty is very familiar with the procedure and know how to react.

Additional Links

Policy checklist – does your policy include the following elements?
From WikiCommons

1. Bomb threat received and phone check list available
2. Notification to police and ‘incident’ commander (be sure that role is identified, by title rather than name)
3. Evaluate available information to decide whether to evacuate or not
·       How specific or detailed is the threat
·       How accurate was the information provided
·       Have there been similar incidents to other businesses or offices in the area
·       Are there other risks, such as a disgruntled employee or domestic violence situation involving an employee
4. Incident command makes decision on whether to evacuate or not (consider the possibility of an explosive device around the exterior, including vehicles in the parking lot)
5. If there is no evacuation, begin a search of the entire building by the staff most familiar with their areas – keep in mind that unless a suspicious device is found, law enforcement will not normally make the decision to evacuate!
6. Search all rooms, common areas and exterior
·       Search floor to waist height
·       Search waist to eye-level
·       Search eye level to ceiling
·       Search above floating ceilings if necessary
7. Do not use cell phones or radios to communicate as that could trigger an explosive device
8. Do not touch any suspicious packages or items found
From WikiCommons

9. Notify police immediately if something suspicious is found
10. If office is evacuated consider how long the search may last and impact on associates and operations
·       How will staff get personal belongings
·       Consider bringing personal items such as purses or briefcases to avoid leaving behind more ‘suspicious’ items
·       Are office doors locked during evacuation
11. Account for all employees
12. Once the building has been searched and law enforcement agrees, allow employees to return to the building
13. Communicate event details and outcome as needed and lessons learned

Of course a great policy or procedure is only as good as the training to back it up. Since it is somewhat rare, a response plan has to be reinforced with training and practice. Different drills focusing on different parts of the policy is a good way to train and then conduct a drill from start to finish in order to test the policy and the response.

Eric Smith, CPP is the leading authority on organizational self-defense. He has extensive experience in law enforcement as well as security management. Eric is available for staff education and security awareness training as well as business coaching to help organizations provide safe workplaces. To learn more email eric@businesskarate.com.


If you would like to reprint this post, please contact Eric at eric@businesskarate.com.


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