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Risk Advisory Against Bomb Threats
11 September 2019

In the wake of multiple terror alerts and several bomb hoaxes,
it is pertinent to know what one should do in case there is any information about a possible bomb threat.

Given below is intelligence and advisory regarding the same

Bomb Threat:

A bomb threat is defined as a threat to explode an explosive or incendiary device to cause damage to property, life or injuries. However, the actual existence of such device or explosives is not clear, but bomb threats or existence of suspicious items should always be taken seriously.

How quickly and safely you react to a bomb threat can save lives, including your own. In case of any such threat DO NOT try to touch or handle the object. Move to a safe area and try to inform authorities about such suspicious objects or threats. DO NOT operate any power switch and do not activate the fire alarm. 


Meanwhile, the terrorist does not label the device with the word 'Bomb', searching operations are very difficult. It can be packaged in many ways as the methods/thoughts will allow. It may be the size of a Pen or as large as a briefcase.

There are, however, three types of Bomb search techniques:

  • Employees search (immediate work area)
  • Security personnel (mainly potential bomb plant area)
  • Police search (utilizing mobile detective apparatus, sniffer dogs, etc.)

Employee Search:

An employee search of the immediate work area is probably the first and the most efficient response to a bomb threat. 

Only employees will be able to determine at a glance, whether the substances around them are inoffensive or does anything raise suspicion. They can rapidly detect any strange or displaced items in their regular working environment.

Proximately after receiving allusion about the bomb threat, each employee will search his desk and the area around them and then leave according to the evacuation procedure if instructed to do so.

Security Search:

Security Officers should search areas like reception, lounge, corridors, restrooms, locker rooms, lavatories, space under staircases, elevator shafts, trash bins and fire hose racks. While this list is not complete, it can give an idea, where a time-deferred explosive or an inflammable device may be obscured. 

Police Search:

In the event the above two searches prove negative, and the installation requires further inquiry, the Police Bomb Disposal Squad should then take control of the operation. Such squads may be equipped with remote control detection and examination equipment, explosive sniffing dogs or devices for sniffing explosives, etc.

The search methods outlined above have been developed to minimize the possibility of fatalities and to provide maximum swiftness in the search. A fast search is the best way of reducing harm. It is especially required in installations, where a quick search should be made by internal and external personnel to resume operation at the earliest.

Searching should not be thought of only in a crisis. 

It should be practiced by both general employees and security personnel, preferably through simulated exercises. It should be a part of the daily routine for security personnel to take an alternative round of the facility and check every possible place where there are high chances of such explosives to be hidden. Any slip-up at the time of security check procedure may lead to intrusion of an unidentified person or object, which highlights the need for such routine checks in the premises of the site. 


Action to be taken on detection of a bomb  

Security officer will ensure that the object is covered with a Bomb suppression blanket and guards are posted.

  • Area to be cordoned.
  • Inform the Chief fire marshal.
  • Surrounding area to be evacuated
  • Inform police control (Telephone No. 100) for the bomb disposal team.
  • Provide all assistance to the Bomb Disposal Team on arrival.
  • Render detail report to the management.


3. What To Do If You Receive A Bomb Threat: 

Most bomb threats are received over the phone or in writing. All Bomb threats are serious until verified fake. Act quickly but remain calm and try to gather information as much as possible, with the Bomb Threat Checklist.


A). If You Receive A Bomb Threat:

There are in all two major ways to receive a bomb threat, over the call or in writing.

1. If You Receive a Bomb Threat Over a Call/Phone:

  • Just keep calm. Let the caller on the line speak as long as possible. DO NOT HANG UP
  • Listen to the caller carefully. Be polite and show interest. 
  • Try to extend the conversation to gather more information from the caller. 
  • If possible, write a note to a colleague and ask them to intimate Police Department. 
  • If possible, try to note down the contact number of the caller.
  • Use the Bomb Threat Checklist, if feasible to write as many details as you can. Try to get exact words. 
  • Immediately upon termination of the call, do not hang up, but from a different phone, contact the nearest Police station, first responder or the security control room of the building with information and wait for their further instructions.
  • If instructed to evacuate, follow your departmental evacuation procedures.
  • Leave doors and windows open; DO NOT turn light switches on or off.
  • Use stairs only; DO NOT use elevators.
  • Move well away from the building and follow instructions of emergency responders.

2. If A Bomb Threat Is Received by Handwritten Note

  • Immediately inform local authorities and first responders.
  • Handle written note as long as possible.
  • Take a quick visual inspection of your area. DO NOT try to touch or move any suspicious or unauthorized objects.
  • DO NOT use radios or cell phones as they can trigger an explosive if exists.
  • Evacuate the building by following the department’s evacuation procedures.
  • Leave doors and windows open, DO NOT turn switches On or Off.
  • Use stairs only, DO NOT use lifts or elevators; take the nearest emergency exit.
  • Move well away from the endangered building, assemble at the designated assembly area and follow instructions provided by local authorities and security head of the organization.

3. If A Bomb Threat Is Received by E-Mail.

  • Immediately inform local authorities and first responders.
  • DO NOT delete the mail


B). If There Is an Explosion:

  • Take cover under sturdy furniture or leave the building if directed to do so by emergency responders.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Move well away from the site of the hazard to a safe location.
  • Use stairs only; DO NOT use elevators.
  • DO NOT light matches.