How should an employer handle a bomb threat?

Author: Julie H. Cox

All employers need a bomb threat checklist that can be posted near phone stations. This checklist needs to walk through, step-by-step, the questions that need to be asked and the actions that need to take place. Normally, the threat will come by way of a telephone call, so the checklist should encompass a number of items that have been shown to aid in finding the bomb. Employees must be made aware of the checklist and shown where it is in order for it to be useful in a real event. When an actual threat occurs, employees will be too stressed to recall what questions to ask and what actions to take.

The checklist may ask the employee answering the phone to take notice of noise in the background; identify, if possible, the gender of the caller; and guess an age from the sound of his or her voice. The caller may or may not answer questions, but the employee receiving the call should ask where the bomb is, what type it is, why the bomb was placed and if he or she is with a group or working alone in this effort.

Authorities need to be called while the call is taking place (by alerting another employee, perhaps with a written message or hand signals) or immediately after. Proper alerts should be in place through the employer's emergency action plan and should be set into motion immediately. Employees need to evacuate the building and area and await further direction from authorities.