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Bombing and the threat of being bombed are harsh realities in today's world. The public is becoming more aware of those incidents of violence that are perpetrated by vicious, nefarious segments of our society through the illegal use of explosives. Law enforcement is responsible for the protection of life and property, however law enforcement needs your assistance.
The value of being prepared cannot be overemphasized. Do not allow a bomb incident catch you by surprise. Consider possible bomb incidents in your physical security plan.
Bombs can be constructed to look like almost anything and can be placed or delivered in any number of ways. The probability of finding a bomb that looks like the stereotypical bomb is almost nonexistent. Explosive devices can be contained in almost anything. Bombs can be delivered in any number of ways. Most devices are homemade and are limited in their design only by the imagination of their maker. Letter and package bombs are not new. While the latest incidents have involved political terrorism, such bombs are made with a variety of motives. The particular form of these bombs varies in size, components and shape. The only common denominator that exists among bombs is that they are designed or intended to explode.
Bomb threats are delivered in a variety of ways. The majority of threats are called in to the target. Occasionally these calls are through a third party. Sometimes a threat is communicated in writing or by recording. Two logical explanations for reporting a bomb are:
- The caller has definite knowledge or believes that an explosive or incendiary bomb has been or will be placed and he/she wants to minimize personal injury or property damage. The caller may be the person who placed the device or someone who has become aware of such information.
- The caller wants to create an atmosphere of anxiety and panic which will, in turn, result in a disruption of the normal activities at the facility where the device is purportedly placed. Whatever the reason for the report, there will certainly be a reaction to it. Through proper planning, the wide variety of potentially uncontrollable reactions can be greatly reduced.
Responding To Bomb Threats
Instruct all personnel, especially those at the telephone switchboard, in what to do if a bomb threat call is received.
It is always desirable that more than one person listens in on the call. A calm response to the caller could result in obtaining additional information. This is especially true it the caller wishes to avoid injuries or deaths. If told that the building is occupied or cannot be evacuated in time, the bomber may be willing to give more specific information on the bomb's location, components, or method of initiation.
The bomb threat caller is the best source of information about the bomb. When a bomb threat is called in:
- Keep the caller on the line as long as possible. Ask him/her to repeat the message. Record every word spoken by the person.
- If the caller does not indicate the location of the bomb or the possible denotation, ask for this information.
- In form the caller that the building is occupied and the detonation of a bomb could result in death or serious bodily injury to many innocent people..
- Pay particular attention to background noises, such as motors running, music playing, and any other noises which may give a clue as to the location of the caller.
- Listen closely to the voice (male, female), voice quality (calm, excited), accents, and speech impediments. Immediately after the caller hangs up, report the threat to the person designated by management to receive such a call.
- Report the information immediately to the police department (911).
- Remain available, as law enforcement personnel will want to interview you.
When a written threat is received, save all the materials, including any envelope or container. Once the message is recognized as a bomb threat, further unnecessary handling should be avoided. Every possible effort must be made to retain evidence such as fingerprints, handwriting or typewriting, paper, and postal marks. These will prove essential in tracing the threat and identifying the writer.
- Bombs can be detonated by a variety of methods including the slightest touch. Therefore, if any suspicious object is located, THE DEVICE SHOULD NOT BE TOUCHED OR DISTRUBED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
- Immediately evacuate the location and notify the police department by using a phone away from the business. Avoid using a cellular phone, as it has been known to have the potential to donate a bomb.
There are different signs that a person can look for, which might indicate that possible explosive device has been sent to you. Consider the following:
- Foreign mail, airmail and special delivery
- Restricted marking such as confidential, personal, etc.
- Excessive postage
- Incorrect titles
- Titles but no names
- Misspelling of common words
- Oily stains or discolorations of the package or envelope
- No return address
- Excessive weight for the size of the package or envelope
- Rigid envelope
- Lopsided or uneven package
- Protruding wires or foil
- Excessive securing material such as masking tape, string, etc.
- Visual distractions on the outside of the package or envelope
Federal Heights Police Department
Bomb Threat Checklist
Keep The Caller On The Line As Long As Possible
Exact time and date of the call:
Exact words of the caller:
- high pitch
- Other: _________
- factory noise
- office machines
- street traffic
- Other: ____________
FAMILIARITY WITH THREATEN FACILITY
Questions to ask the caller:
When is the bomb going to explode? _______________________
Where is the bomb? _____________________________________
What does it look like? ___________________________________