The Office for Bombing Prevention (OBP) leads the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to implement the National Policy for Countering Improvised Explosive Devices (National Counter-IED policy) and enhance the nation’s ability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and mitigate the use of explosives against critical infrastructure; the private sector; and federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial entities.

What can you do if there is a bomb threat

It's important to know what steps every day citizens can and should take in the event of a bomb threat.


Bomb threats or suspicious items 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?
The guidance and resources listed below outline in-depth procedures for either bomb threats or suspicious items and will help you prepare and react appropriately during these events.
IF YOU RECEIVE A BOMB THREAT

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:
A) Remain calm.
B) Notify authorities immediately:C) Notify your facility supervisor, such as a manager, operator, or administrator, or follow your facility's standard operating procedure.
D) Call 9-1-1 or your local law enforcement if no facility supervisor is available.
For threats made via phone:

A) Keep the caller on the line as long as possible. Be polite and show interest to keep them talking.
B) DO NOT HANG UP, even if the caller does.C) If possible, signal or pass a note to other staff to listen and help notify authorities.
D) Write down as much information as possible—caller ID number, exact wording of threat, type of voice or behavior, etc.—that will aid investigators.
E) Record the call, if possible.
For threats made in person, via email, or via written note

A) Be available for interviews with facility supervisors and/or law enforcement.
B) Follow authorities’ instructions. Facility supervisors and/or law enforcement will assess the situation and provide guidance regarding facility lock-down, search, and/or evacuation.

If you find a suspicious item


Together we can help keep our communities safe—if you see something that is suspicious, out of place, or doesn't look right, say something. (Find out more about the 'If You See Something, Say Something®' campaign.) A suspicious item is any item (e.g., bag, package, vehicle, etc.) that is reasonably believed to contain explosives, an improvised explosive device (IED), or other hazardous material that requires a bomb technician and/or specialized equipment to further evaluate it. Examples that could indicate a bomb include unexplainable wires or electronics, other visible bomb-like components, and unusual sounds, vapors, mists, or odors. Generally speaking, anything that is Hidden, Obviously suspicious, and not Typical (HOT) should be deemed suspicious. In addition, potential indicators for a bomb are threats, placement, and proximity of the item to people and valuable assets.


NOTE: Not all items are suspicious. An unattended item is an item (e.g., bag, package, vehicle, etc.) of unknown origin and content where there are no obvious signs of being suspicious (see above). Facility search, lock-down, or evacuation is not necessary unless the item is determined to be suspicious.


You may encounter a suspicious item unexpectedly or while conducting a search as part of your facility's or employer’s Bomb Threat Response Plan. If it appears to be a suspicious item, follow these procedures:



1) Remain calm.
2) Do NOT touch, tamper with, or move the package, bag, or item.
3) Notify authorities immediately:
4) Notify your facility supervisor, such as a manager, operator, or administrator, or follow your facility's standard operating procedure.5) Call 9-1-1 or your local law enforcement if no facility supervisor is available.
6) Explain why it appears suspicious.7) Follow instructions. Facility supervisors and/or law enforcement will assess the situation and provide guidance regarding shelter-in-place or evacuation.
8) If no guidance is provided and you feel you are in immediate danger, calmly evacuate the area. Distance and protective cover are the best ways to reduce injury from a bomb.
9) Be aware. There could be other threats or suspicious items.

Every situation 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 if a real risk is posed and how to respond.

HAVE A PLAN

Having a plan in advance makes the response to bomb threats, unattended items, or suspicious items as orderly and controlled as possible, reducing risk and the impact of false alarms on regular activities. Facility supervisors—such as school, office, or building managers responsible for the facility—should:


1)Review the DHS-DOJ Bomb Threat Guidance.Bomb threat guidance
2) Develop a Bomb Threat Response Plan for their organization or facility. Contact the Office for Bombing Prevention at OBP@cisa.dhs.gov for more information on planning workshops.
Train employees, tenants, and/or visitors to take appropriate actions in the event of a bomb threat and/or identification of an unattended or suspicious item.

Developed in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-Department of Justice (DOJ) Bomb Threat Guidance is a quick reference guide that provides facility supervisors with details on pre-threat preparation, threat assessment, staff response guidelines, and evacuation and shelter-in-place considerations. Download the DHS-DOJ Bomb Threat Guidance for more information.


School-specific bomb threat guidance can also be found at ThreatPlan.org and the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistant Center.



BOMB THREAT CHECKLIST

Whether the bomb threat is made via phone, handwritten note, email, or other means, the DHS Bomb Threat Checklist provides instructions on how to respond to a bomb threat and a comprehensive list of information that will assist law enforcement in a bomb threat investigation.



VIDEOS

Susspecious and unattended items
Bomb searches


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