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  • Bomb threats

    Who deals with these on a regular basis?

    My 3 hotels do not attract high profile speakers or visitors so we don't get them often. Some other hotels deal with them regularly.

    Evacuate or not?

    During my schooling in Police Technology I had a seminar taught by the person who formed the Montreal Police bomb squad & saw lots of action in the early '70s with the separtist FLQ group's bombs. He taught that as a general rule for a simple phone call you should not evacuate. His reasoning was that if someone wanted to kill or injury people they would usually NOT call before an explosion. They would call after to take responsiblity for it in the name of a group. A person calling before an explosion, if in fact there is a real bomb, is trying to stop deaths or injury. His advice was that if after a first call & the caller called back asking why the building was not being evacuated, then he would suggest evacuating. Evacuating everytime someone phoned in a threat encourages false threats. It also has people moving around inside the building. It might cause someone to leave their work area & walk through the area where a bomb is located. They would have been safer staying in their area.
    Last edited by HotelSecurity; 11-28-2006, 06:33 PM.
    I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
    Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

  • #2
    Funny you mention that Hotel Security
    we just had our course on Bomb threats In Security Management (2 year Diploma program) and the main point we were taught is to have good SOP (security operating procedures) and to make the CEO/hotel management sign off on the SOP, that way they are the ones who made the call with security assisting in the evacuation (evacuation=lost revenue) The RCMP has packages that explain the proper procedures for Bomb threats, the main points we were taught to look for is

    1. How specific is the threat (more specific=evacuation)

    2. Does the caller sounds agitated/angry (or is it "the bomb is going to explode giigle giglle" as the kids slam down the phone)

    3. was there a threat on a similer location (another hotel similer to yours in another city) which is why we are taught to read the newspaper as one of our prime security tools

    I hope this helps
    Ben

    Comment


    • #3
      Yesterday

      Yesterday this was part of a company meeting on emergency procedures. According to FBI stats, a quick call that says nothing more than "I put a bomb in your building." and then hang up is not likely a real bomb. the more info obtained from the caller, the more likely it is real, however, as you stated, most often a real bomber gives no warning.
      "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

      Comment


      • #4
        Fairly complicated subject, actually. No one wants to be jerked around by phony bomb threats, which can be very costly in disrupting the business, but the consequences of a bad decision can obviously also be very high.

        First, a threat/vulnerability analysis with specific reference to bombs should be performed for any given facility. This analysis, together with proven best practices regarding bomb situations, should then drive the creation of policies and procedures that ultimately become translated into post orders and address issues such as evacuation - especially who is authorized to give an evacuation order. Since this decision will rarely be made at the level of the line officer, the post orders must include a protocol for communication of the bomb threat or suspicion to the decision-maker. This, in turn, implies a protocol for characterizing the threat or situation succinctly. For instance, ATF publishes a form that can be used to summarize all the salient features of a telephoned bomb threat, and this should be available at every phone station that would be likely to receive such a threat (reception, switchboard, etc.).

        It's a mistake to think of the options as being necessarily limited to "evacuate or not"...and this becomes clearer as you study bomb situations generally. For instance, you learn that well over 70% of all bombs are placed in areas that are accessible to the public - parking garages, outer walls and doorways, lobbies, elevators, restrooms, outer hallways and stairwells. Utility closets and executive offices rank next. This knowledge then suggests that there might be intermediate options to "evacuate or not", one of which is to issue a "stand-still" order requiring people in the facility to remain where they are while such high-likelihood areas are searched. This protocol would also include the requirement that people visually scan their own areas to look for anything that is "out of place", report such (and then possibly evacuate that immediate area).

        Such stand-still/search protocols, however, may not appropriate for facilities where there is a significant public presence (as the public would not know what this means or what to do, obviously), and intermediate options might instead involve partial evacuation (lobbies, for instance) along with discreet but rapid searches. Again, such decision would be made by someone with authority and training - not the line officer - and would mainly be based on that individual's assessment of the nature of the suspicion or threat as reported to him/her.

        Do intermediate protocols require prior training for employees? As with many security issues, the answer is "yes". You don't start dealing with bomb situations when they happen...you have to start long before the fact.

        A few other points:

        a. Threat/vulnerability analysis is not just about "this facility". It should take into consideration the threat that might exist for adjacent and/or nearby properties that might attract a bomber. Remember, Timothy McVeigh did very serious damage to many properties near the federal building he targeted...and bombers have even been known to deliver their bombs to the wrong facility, especially in "industrial parks" or anywhere that there is a common appearance to clusters of buildings.

        b. It's a good idea whether you evacuate or do something intermediate to assign at least one officer to do immediate patrol of the visual perimeter of the property in case there may be someone who seems to be taking an unusual interest in the proceedings. This patrol would extend beyond the boundaries of the property, as noted, to the "visual perimeter", so the officer may well have no other authority than to jot down license numbers or take stills, etc., but these can be very useful to the police. Even bomb threats can be "dry runs" for the real thing to come later, with the objective of seeing how the facility and first responders deal with such situations - perhaps for the purposes of placing a secondary device near the evacuation gathering points or first responder staging areas.

        c. Bombs can look like anything...anything at all. One thing that characterizes most of them, however, is that they represent something - a bag, a box, a parcel, a flower vase, a boombox, whatever - that "shouldn't be there" or "wasn't there before". This implies that the best searches are performed by people who are familiar with the area being searched. Some facilities will include a department employee (selected and trained, of course) on the search team, but in any case this implies that we train security officers to understand how critical it is for them to be knowledgeable about the "normal state" of their areas of responsibility.

        d. You also need a completely separate set of protocols-->procedures-->post orders for mailed bombs, bombs delivered by naive third parties, etc.

        e. Of course, you touch nothing suspicious. I've seen a bomb for instance that had a small watch with wires going to it from a battery on the outside...one might conclude that simply cutting the wire to the battery would interrupt the timing circuit. Not so. The watch, wires and battery were not used for timing at all but were simply part of a collapsing circuit (the watch wasn't even necessary, of course - the circuit simply ran through the metal watch case, not the hands, so the watch was nothing more than a resistor in the circuit) inside the bomb where there was a relay being held open in the real activating circuit. Cutting the wires to the external battery would close this circuit. So...there never was any "timing" aspect to the triggering mechanism and the bomber wanted someone naive enough to cut those wires to the watch. This bomb was obviously targeting bomb disposal and/or security personnel who would fall for the illusion created by the watch and spring the trap.

        f. You need a means of communication among searchers other than radios...voice, hand signals and a means of marking areas that have been searched.

        g. Drills must be conducted if procedures are to be effective. These need not necessarily be facility-wide each time.
        Last edited by SecTrainer; 11-30-2006, 11:17 AM.
        "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

        "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

        "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

        "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

        Comment


        • #5
          I've had the opportunity to read the emergency response plan for a HUGE public building in the city near me... their plan calls for 2 teams to search the building. Each team consists of a security supervisor and someoen in maintnence/plant ops... the 2 groups that know the building. The procedure is VERY detailed in HOW they go about searching an area. It was written with the help of the local bomb squad... There are probably resources that you can talk with locally to get similar help.

          Also, every place I work has a "bomb threat checklist" near every phone. That way, if you take a call, you can work through the checklist to ask all the questions that you are 'supposed' to ask.

          One site even has "Bomb Threat... calll Security at Ext_____" on the back of the checklist, so a secretary can wave it in the air to get someone else's attention and have them call Security while they stay on the phone with the caller.
          The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed.

          Comment


          • #6
            I just wrote out a Bomb Threat Guideline today for a client.

            One advantage they have is either areas are controlled entry or pretty much easily viewed. A disadvantage is a bank next door, one across the street and a Post office across the alley on the other side. Three high value targets....need I say more.

            I recommended that if they recieve the call for themselves, notify 911 then employees and security can do a quick scan for items left unattended and if one is found evacuate.
            If they recieve a call for one of the mentioned buildings then evacuate and notify the target and 911.

            You must have a Bomb Threat call checklist to both help verify/analyze the call and to follow procedures.

            Oh yeah, speaking from personal experiance it is VERY hard to stay on the phone with a caller that has just told you he is going to blow you up. It must be drilled into the people that answer the phone to follow protocol.
            Last edited by ACP01; 11-30-2006, 10:47 PM. Reason: addition

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            • #7
              On the topic of this thread, I thought some of you might find this interesting from USA Today (requoted in Security Management newsletter):

              "Scientists are conducting research that could turn bees and wasps into front-line bomb-detection devices. Bees' antennae are sensitive to scent, and researchers are training the insects to detect the scent of explosives. Several bees are strapped into narrow tubes within a box, and when the bees sense explosive particles, they are trained to wave their proboscises, and the researchers reward them with sugar water. A pattern-recognition video camera system that is trained on the bees sends an alert when the bees begin waving their proboscises. Researchers have trained the bees to detect TNT, liquid-explosives, and howitzer propellant. Researchers also say that bees have shown the ability to detect land mines, toxic chemicals in the air, and drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. Bees and wasps could have similar applications in detecting the quality of food, counterfeit merchandise, and drug smugglers."

              Here's the link to the article itself:

              http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science...sniffing_x.htm
              "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

              "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

              "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

              "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Defensive tactics
                Funny you mention that Hotel Security
                we just had our course on Bomb threats In Security Management (2 year Diploma program) and the main point we were taught is to have good SOP (security operating procedures) and to make the CEO/hotel management sign off on the SOP, that way they are the ones who made the call with security assisting in the evacuation (evacuation=lost revenue) The RCMP has packages that explain the proper procedures for Bomb threats, the main points we were taught to look for is

                1. How specific is the threat (more specific=evacuation)

                2. Does the caller sounds agitated/angry (or is it "the bomb is going to explode giigle giglle" as the kids slam down the phone)

                3. was there a threat on a similer location (another hotel similer to yours in another city) which is why we are taught to read the newspaper as one of our prime security tools

                I hope this helps
                Ben
                Yeah we had similar documents to fill out that were fairly lengthy. It's good intelligence gathering for one thing, and absolutely essential for later investigations if it ever did happen.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Using the phone questionaires and protocols may also give LE (that you contacted from another hrd-wired not cellular phone) a chance to trace the call.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Some PBX phones at reception allow you do identify the trunk ID that the call came in on. Some phone companies also provide a code to enter after the call is terminated so that they have a marker for tracing the call. CT had a problem with bomb threats at the courthouses in an attempt to backlog the justice system. LE nailed them. The same with threats in school. I'd say your chances of being caught for making a threat at a high profile site is 90% over here.
                    Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My site doesn't have a protocol, even with the risk, so I had to look into this topic my self. Try this site Bomb Threats
                      Todd

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Employee Search

                        I understand that employees know what should or shouldn't be in the building as far as bomb searches go. Nevertheless, I am against having them participate in any kind of search because of the risk involved and the potential for someone to do something wrong such as moving/touching a suspicious item. You can tell people NOT to touch it a hundred times and guess what? They do it anyhow. Kaboom!
                        Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mr. Security
                          I understand that employees know what should or shouldn't be in the building as far as bomb searches go. Nevertheless, I am against having them participate in any kind of search because of the risk involved and the potential for someone to do something wrong such as moving/touching a suspicious item. You can tell people NOT to touch it a hundred times and guess what? They do it anyhow. Kaboom!
                          I fully agree, the Url i attached was ment as a guide on what to listen for when that call comes in, what to look for if it is a letter, and how to evacuate the building.
                          Todd

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A good thing to access at first is how serious the caller is likely to be. If the give you a location, time, and what the bomb is packaged in...then it may be real. If the info is vague it may not be.

                            A friend of mine used to do armed robberies and he would use phony bomb threats to get cops on the other side of town while he was on a lick.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BoxerGuard
                              A friend of mine used to do armed robberies and he would use phony bomb threats to get cops on the other side of town while he was on a lick.
                              I tell you, you are a very interesting guy! Everytime you post we learn something. Why is your friend an ex armed robber. Was he shot or is he in jail?
                              I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                              Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

                              Comment

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