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Bomb Threat

Bomb threats or suspicious items are rare, but should always be taken seriously. How quickly and safely you react to a bomb threat could save lives, including your own. What should you do?

Bomb threats are most commonly received via phone, but are also made in person, via email, written note, or other means. Every bomb threat is unique and should be handled in the context of the facility or environment in which it occurs. Facility supervisors and law enforcement will be in the best position to determine the credibility of the threat. Follow these procedures:

  • Remain calm.
  • Notify authorities immediately:
      • Notify your facility supervisor, such as a manager, operator, or administrator, or follow your facility's standard operating procedure. (See below for assistance with developing a plan for your facility or location.)
      • Call 9-1-1 or your local law enforcement if no facility supervisor is available.
  • Refer to the DHS Bomb Threat Checklist for guidance, if available.
  • For threats made via phone:
      • Keep the caller on the line as long as possible. Be polite and show interest to keep them talking.
      • DO NOT HANG UP, even if the caller does.
      • If possible, signal or pass a note to other staff to listen and help notify authorities.
      • Write down as much information as possible—caller ID number, exact wording of threat, type of voice or behavior, etc.—that will aid investigators.
      • Record the call, if possible.
  • For threats made in person, via email, or via written note, refer to the DHS Bomb Threat Checklist and DHS-DOJ Bomb Threat Guidance for more information.
  • Be available for interviews with facility supervisors and/or law enforcement.
  • Follow authorities’ instructions. Facility supervisors and/or law enforcement will assess the situation and provide guidance regarding facility lock-down, search, and/or evacuation.

Watch the Bomb Threat Training Video below and refer to the DHS-DOJ Bomb Threat Guidance for more information.

Last Published: Nov 27, 2017