The purpose of having a bomb threat procedure is to have an orderly, safe and rapid procedure of conducting searches, providing prompt and necessary communications, rendering assistance, and evacuating and returning personnel to work in the event of a bomb threat.
Telephone Bomb Threat
In the event of a bomb threat either through a telephone call or by other means, the following procedure should be followed:
Try to keep the caller talking as long as possible. Ask the person to repeat part of his message. Remain calm. Write down the message and obtain as much relevant information as possible. To assist you, below are some of the items along with other information that would aid in the investigation.
- Time the call was received?
- When is the bomb due to explode?
- Identification of the caller?
- Why was the bomb put there?
Try to recall every statement made by the caller and find out as much as possible about the caller. For example:
- Voice characteristics (educated, low, high-pitched, accent)
- Speech (fast, slow, nervous, slurred)
- Manner (calm, angry, hysterical, humorous)
- Background noises (road traffic, music, giggling, aircraft)
Tenant should immediately report any bomb threat to 911 and to the management office. Fairfax County authorities will make decisions concerning further actions that may be required.
Letter bombs are designed to travel safely but to explode when opened, triggered by either mechanical (spring loaded) or electrical means. One common type of postal bomb consists of 2 to 5 ounces of plastic explosive with a pencil-shaped metal fuse pressed in its center. Envelopes usually measure approximately 5-3/4” by 4” by 3/16” thick and weigh between 2 and 5 ounces.
Some signs to look for:
- Size - Is the letter unusually thick?
- Weight - Is it heavy? An effective letter bomb will weigh over two ounces. Few first class letters weigh as much.
- Balance - Is it heavier on one end?
- Appearance - Are there grease marks on the envelope or wrapping caused by sweating of an explosive? Is the envelope sealed more tightly than usual or taped shut? Does it bear an unusual style of writing?
- Odor - Is there a smell of almonds or marzipan?
If you consider a parcel or letter suspicious, DO NOT OPEN IT. Immediately inform the Police Bomb Squad by calling 911 and then notify the Property Management Office at 703-351-7900.
Identifying and Handling a Suspicious Package
A suspicious letter or parcel might have some of the following indicators:
Handling a Suspicious Package
- Origin - Postmark or name of sender is unusual, unknown, or no further address is given.
- Postage - Excessive or inadequate postage.
- Balance - The letter is lopsided or unusually thick.
- Weight - The letter or package seems heavy for its size.
- Contents - Stiffness or springiness of contents; protruding wires or components; oily outer wrapping or envelope; feels like it contains powdery substance (When checking, do not bend excessively.)
- Smell - Particularly almond or other suspicious odors.
- Writing - Handwriting of sender is not familiar or indicates a foreign style not normally received by recipient. Common words or names are misspelled.
- Rub-on block lettering.
Incident Response Protocol for Suspect Nuclear or Biological Release
- Do not excessively handle or open a suspicious package.
- Immediately segregate it in an unused room or space.
- Attempt to verify the sender and/or the legitimacy of the package (i.e. ask the recipient if he/she was expecting a package that matches the suspect package's size and shape.)
- If the letter or parcel remains suspect, call the police.
- Contain the material to minimize the impacted area
- Contain the material to minimize the number of individuals exposed
- Contain the potential impacted individuals to ensure that they receive proper medical attention
- Remove non-impacted individuals from the area as quickly as possible
- Maintain control of all potentially impact materials.
- Notify supervisor
- Notify local Emergency Response Authorities (Call 911)
- Notify Property Management Office at 703-351-7900.
- Notify co-workers in area
If material is released, impacted or potentially impacted individuals should move from immediate area to adjacent control area. Minimize activities until appropriate response staff arrives. If absolutely necessary, move impacted individuals into nearest bathroom facility on floor.
Non-impacted individuals on the impacted floor should be evacuated, and await further instructions from response team.
HVAC system (heating and ventilation system) for impacted and adjacent areas, and bathrooms will be immediately turned off by the property engineers.
Isolate impacted area(s), e.g. shut door during exit. Do not allow any unprotected personnel into the impacted area.
Retain all impacted material for response team.
Should evacuation become necessary, the authority and responsibility rests with the local government officials. Neither the Property Management Office, managing agent nor owner can assume responsibility for any consequences resulting from the decision to evacuate or not to evacuate.