What to Do If You Receive a Bomb Threat by Phone
Most bomb threats are received by phone. Bomb threats are serious until proven otherwise. Act quickly, but remain calm and obtain as much information listed below as possible.
- Keep the caller on the line for as long as possible. Do not hang up, even if it sounds like the caller does, as the caller may still be on the line.
- Listen carefully. Be polite and show interest.
- Try to keep the caller talking to learn more information.
- If possible, write a note to a colleague to call the authorities or, as soon as the caller hangs up, immediately notify them yourself.
- If your phone has a display, copy the number and/or letters on the window display.
- Write down as much detail as you can remember. Try to transcribe the exact wording.
- Immediately upon termination of the call, do not hang up, but from a different phone, contact 911 immediately with information and await instructions.
Helpful information about the caller include traits about the caller's voice (male/female, estimated age, calm, excited), background sounds, and the type of language used for the threat (was it well-spoke, incoherent, irrational?).
Questions to Ask
If a caller stays on the line try to ask the following questions:
- Where is the bomb located? (The more specific the better. Try to get a building, floor, or room number)
- When will it go off?
- What does it look like?
- What kind of bomb is it?
- What will make it explode?
- Did you place the bomb?
- What is your name?
Signs of a Suspicious Package
- No return address
- Excessive postage
- Strange Odor
- Strange Sounds
- Unexpected Delivery
- Address is poorly handwritten
- Misspelled words
- Incorrect titles
- Foreign postage
- Restrictive notes
- Use two-way radios or cellular phones near the package. Radio signals have the potential to detonate a bomb.
- Evacuate the building until police arrive and evaluate the threat.
- Activate the fire alarm.
- Touch or move a suspicious package.