A bomb threat may come to the attention of the receiver in various ways. It is important to compile as much information as possible. Please DO NOT attempt to notify or evacuate an entire building as this could consume valuable time that would be better used to gather important information. Please keep in mind that the vast majority of bomb threats are false and are primarily intended to elicit a response from the building occupants. In the case of a written threat, it is vital that the document be handled by as few people as possible, as this is evidence that should be turned over to the Virginia Tech Police. If the threat should come via email, make sure to save the information on your computer. Most bomb threats are transmitted over the telephone; thus, the following instructions are provided with that assumption.
- Remain calm and immediately refer to the attached Telephone Bomb Threat Checklist. If applicable, pay attention to your telephone display and record the information shown in the display window.
- The objective is to keep the caller on the line as long as possible to attempt to gather as much information as possible. Try not to anger the caller at any time.
- While engaging the caller, pay attention to any background noise and distinctive sounds (machinery, traffic, other voices, music, television, etc.).
- Note any characteristics of the caller's voice (gender, age, education, accent, etc.).
- Attempt to obtain information on the location of a device (building, floor, room, etc.).
- Attempt to obtain information on the time of detonation and type of detonator.
- Immediately after the caller has ended the call, notify the Virginia Tech Police at 911. If the threat was left on your voice mail, do not erase.
- Notify the immediate supervisor within your work area.
The decision to evacuate a university facility shall be made after a thorough evaluation of the information available, including but not limited to:
- The nature of the threat.
- The specificity of location and time of detonation.
- Circumstances related to the threat (i.e. political climate, series of events leading to the threat, etc.).
- Discovery of a device or unusual package, luggage, etc.
The Virginia Tech Police will dispatch a search team and will organize the search. Other emergency units will be alerted to the threat and asked to stand by for further instructions. Persons leaving the building should report to a specified location for further instructions.
Staff can be of assistance to the Virginia Tech Police in several ways. Staff will be more familiar with their work area than the police officers. As the search is conducted, staff may be asked to identify boxes or objects in their work area. If an evacuation of an academic building is necessary, classes will be dismissed or relocated. If a suspicious device, package, bag, etc. is discovered, the Virginia Tech Police will notify the local bomb squad for assistance. The decision to resume normal activities in the building will be made.