Bomb Threat, Suspicious Package, and Chemical/Biological Threat Reporting and Response Procedures

Reporting Procedures

If you receive a bomb threat, by phone or in written format, or if you discover a suspicious package, get as much information as you can and call 911 as soon as possible. Do not touch suspicious packages.

Any threat or use of an explosive device, a biological agent, or a chemical agent as a weapon is a federal crime and will be investigated by the police and the FBI.

Recognize Suspicious Letters, Packages, and Objects

Biological and chemical threats can be made by phone but typically arrive in the form of letters, some of which contain a powdery substance or an oily substance. Others contain no substances at all. There is little risk of infection resulting from exposure to a dry form of these agents. However, prudent precautionary steps must be taken.

If the item meets one or more of the following criteria, it may be dangerous:

  • Letter feels rigid, appears uneven/lopsided
  • Package or object feels heavier on one side than the other (avoid handling packages that look suspicious)
  • Unusual odors
  • Makes noise
  • Oil stains or wet spots
  • Excessive amount or no postage, non-canceled postage
  • No return address, sender unknown
  • Unusual restricted endorsements, “Personal,” “Private”
  • Addressee normally does not receive personal mail at office
  • Name/title of addressee not accurate/addressed to a title or position
  • Address prepared to ensure anonymity of sender
  • Hand-delivered or dropped off for a friend
  • Foreign mail, air mail, special delivery
  • Foreign substance inside, powdery

Move away from the item as soon as possible. Notify ACC Police Dispatch and provide as much information about the item as possible.

Response Procedures

If a threat is made or a suspicious package is reported or discovered on campus, ACC Police will implement their response procedure with other law enforcement agencies, as needed. Their response is designed to maximize your safety. Information will be provided to you using some or all of the emergency communication systems.

  1. The situation may be dynamic, therefore follow the instructions provided to you via ACC Emergency Alert, law enforcement official or campus emergency coordinator.
  2. Stay where you are until specific instructions to evacuate are provided. Take all your belongings with you unless instructed differently.

If You Receive a Bomb Threat by Telephone

  1. Remain calm and listen closely to remember as much as possible.
  2. Take note of the phone number from which the call was received.
  3. Refer to the Bomb Threat Record Sheet.
  4. The call will probably be of short duration. Try to obtain as much information as possible and then contact ACC Police Dispatch.
    • When is the bomb going to explode?
    • Where is the bomb?
    • What does it look like?
    • What kind of bomb is it?
    • What will cause the bomb to explode?
    • Who placed the bomb?
    • Why was the bomb placed?
    • From where are you calling?
    • What is your address?
    • What is your name?
    • Is there a specific target?
    • Why did you pick this facility?

If You Receive a Bomb Threat in Writing

  1. Save all materials received.
  2. Do not handle unless absolutely necessary. Fingerprints are important to finding the perpetrator.
  3. If a suspicious object is included with the written threat, do not touch it. Refer to the section below about biological/chemical threats by mail.
  4. Contact ACC Police Dispatch as soon as possible.

If You Receive a Biological/Chemical Threat by Mail

  1. DON’T PANIC. Remember there is little risk of infection if you follow the precautions below.
  2. Gently lay the letter/package and contents down. Avoid touching it any further or disrupting the contents.
  3. Turn off any portable fans.
  4. Ask someone to contact ACC Police Dispatch as soon as possible.
  5. Move to an area that will minimize your exposure to others. Others will want to help, ensure that they do not come into contact with you or the letter/package/substance.
  6. Keep others away from the immediate location, but DO NOT evacuate the building. NO ONE must leave the area until released by emergency responders or public health officials. Everyone involved must comply with instructions from emergency responders and public health officials (e.g. providing names and telephone numbers of all individuals who touched the letter/package).
  7. Emergency responders or public health officials will help decontaminate those who came in contact with the materials.

If You Receive a Biological/Chemical Threat by Telephone

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Keep the caller on the line as long as possible.
  3. Refer to the Chem-Bio Threat Record Sheet.
  4. Try to obtain as much information as possible and then contact ACC Police Dispatch:
    • What type of chemical or bio agent was/will be used?
    • What type of delivery system was/will be used?
    • Has the agent already been released?
    • When is it set to go off?
    • Where is the device located?
    • What does it look like?
    • How will it be activated?
    • Is there a specific target?
    • Why did you pick this facility?
    • Who placed the device?
    • What is your name?
    • Where are you calling from?
    • What is your address?

Additional Responsibilities for Faculty and Supervisors/Managers

In addition to the above, you have specific responsibilities to your group. Spend five minutes at the beginning of the semester or in a staff meeting reviewing how you will work together to effectively implement emergency procedures.

  • To the extent possible, stay with and encourage your group to follow the instructions provided.
  • Account for those in your group and be able to report their status to emergency responders.
  • Assist with injury reports and workers’ compensation claims as appropriate.

Back to Top