Bomb Threats

Below are procedures for handling bomb threats and actual bomb emergencies that will minimize injury to people, facilities and avoid disrupting normal schedules. All employees should accept a bomb threat or warning as a true statement until it is proven otherwise.

Protocol Action Steps

A bomb threat may be received by phone, letter, email, text. You may also become aware of a suspicious package or letter that you suspect of containing an explosive or other harmful substance. Call 911 or contact campus safety immediately and follow the instructions outlined below.

A. Bomb threat received by phone
  • Remain calm and use the suspicious/threatening call report form. This form should be kept close at hand by those who routinely answer outside lines.
  • Be courteous and polite, listen carefully, and show interest. 
  • Keep the caller talking to gather as much information as possible, including:
    • Location and type of bomb
    • Planned time of detonation
    • Why the bomb was planted
  • Listen for clues of the caller’s age, gender, mental state (calm, drunk, angry)
    • Write down the caller’s exact words.
    • Listen carefully for tone, accent, grammar, background noise, etc.
  • Do not hang up the phone after the call.
  • To avoid risk of detonation, immediately turn off cellular devices, radios and pagers.
  • Call 911 and relay all information you can as accurately as you can. Notify Campus Safety immediately after calling 911.
  • Follow directions of emergency personnel. Evacuation or shelter-in-place will be determined at the time of the crisis. Typically, sheltering in place is safer because of the protection offered by the building.
  • If instructed to clear the area or building, stay clear for emergency response teams.
B. Suspicious letter or package
  • Characteristics of a suspicious package or letter include:
    • Oily stains, discoloration or odor
    • Powdery substances on the outside or inside the letter or package.
    • Excessive postage
    • Lopsided or uneven envelope
    • Protruding wires or aluminum foil
    • Excessive security material such as masking tape, string, etc.
    • Sounds from within the package
    • Do not handle, move or attempt to open a letter or package that you consider suspicious and do not allow anyone except emergency personnel to do so.
    • Evacuate the area immediately, leaving the package or letter behind.
    • Call 911 and relay all information as accurately as you can. Notify campus safety immediately after calling 911.
C. Explosion
  • Immediately take cover under tables, desks and other objects that will give protection against falling glass or debris. Exit the building as soon as possible. Do not use elevators.
  • As quickly as you have evacuated to a safe location, contact Campus Safety and give your name describe the nature of the emergency using as many details as possible.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • After 911 has been contacted and building or area has been evacuated Campus Safety will contact the president and notify director of facilities and service management of situation.
  • Campus Safety to conduct sweep of building or area for persons not evacuated and to identify suspicious item if one was identified.
  • Campus Safety to set perimeter of 500 feet from area or around building.
  • The crisis management team will convene to determine further actions.
  • The crisis management team will instruct the associate vice president for communications to initiate Connect Ed with the appropriate dialogue for the situation.  
  • When local law enforcement arrives on campus, they will assume command of the situation.

Reminders

  • Do not panic.
  • Do not go looking for the bomb.
  • Do not give any information about the bomb threat to anyone except Campus Safety or Local Authorities (Alma Police, County Sheriff, Michigan State Police)
  • Do not give any statement to media. Press releases will be coordinated from the communication and marketing office.

Note: Due to the danger of possible bomb detonation from radio transmission, all radios at the scene will be turned off (unless otherwise instructed). All communications will be through the use of the telephone or some other alternate method.