#154 - Bomb Threat Procedures
Approved: May 2, 2007
Nomenclature changes: May 8, 2023
Monitor: Vice President for Student Affairs
A bomb threat may come to the receiver's attention in various ways. Persons receiving a bomb threat should immediately notify the University Police Department (ENTER #). A course of action (response) will be determined by the University.
Response to a bomb threat involves distinct steps, as outlined in the following procedures.
Receiving/ Observing the Threat
- Threats Received by Telephone
When a bomb threat has been received by telephone the person receiving the caller should:
- Remain calm and concentrate on the exact wording of the message and any other details that could provide information to assess the threat. Special attention should be given to where the bomb is threatened to be placed, when the bomb is threatened to detonate, why the caller is making the threat, descriptors of the caller (including sex, race, age, background noises, manner of speech, language used, etc.),and the exact wording of the threat.
- Write down as much as possible of the message immediately, noting as much of the above information as possible.
- If the phone has a digital screen displaying the caller's number, write down the phone number exactly as it is shown.
- Do not hang up the telephone. Prolonging the duration of the phone call increases the possibility of tracing the call.
- If the threat was left on your voice mail, do not erase.
- Threats Received in Writing
- Once a written threat is recognized, minimize handling of the document to preserve potential evidence (i.e., fingerprints, handwriting, print, and postmarks).
- Threats Received Electronically
- Print messages received electronically, such as email or instant messaging.
- Do not shut down the computer program.
- Immediately call the University Police Department at 911, then forward the message to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Decisions Concerning Type of Response and Evacuation
When a bomb threat is received, the University Police shall be notified immediately. After consultation with the ranking University Police Officer, the Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee, shall determine whether to order an evacuation of the building or area. In the absence of the VPSA or designee, the ranking University Police Officer shall make such determination. When making such determination, the parties shall consider:
- Nature of the Threat
- The specificity of location and time of detonation
- Circumstances related to the threat (i.e. political climate, etc.)
- Discovery of a device or unusual package, luggage, etc. 1. Note: if a device is seen, do not touch it. Clear the area, stay off cell phones, avoid two-way radio traffic, and contact the University Police Department.
Action Required for Bomb Threat
- When the decision to evacuate has been made, the building shall be cleared of all occupants as rapidly and orderly as possible.
- University Police shall work with local law enforcement as necessary. The Office of Media Relations shall be notified (emergency notification).
- All exterior doors of the suspect building shall be secured to prevent entry by unauthorized persons.
- After the building has been evacuated and cleared, and no less than thirty minutes after the designated time of detonation (if known), all available law enforcement personnel shall conduct a thorough search of all rooms. University Police shall respond to the suspect building or area to assist with the search and/or evacuation. . Charleston Police Department and Charleston Fire Department will be notified as necessary.
- After the search has been completed and no explosive device is located, the building shall be opened.
- If a suspected explosive device is located, the building shall be totally cleared, and the nearest Emergency Ordinance Demolition team shall be notified. All persons shall be instructed to move to a safe location away from the suspect building or area.
Evaluation of Procedures
After a bomb threat incident, a debriefing shall be held to evaluate procedures, decisions, and outcome. The debriefing shall be called by the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) and shall include representatives of agencies and/or departments involved in implementing the procedures.