Internal Governing Policies
#154 - Bomb Threat Procedures
Approved: May 2, 2007
Monitor: Vice President for Student Affairs
Response to a bomb threat involves distinct steps, as outlined in the following procedures.
Types of Bomb Threats
- Specific threats are those that indicate a bomb has been placed somewhere within the campus and indicate the exact building or area, time of detonation, and/or reason for placement.
- Non-specific threats are threats that do not include all the information in a specific threat.
Receiving the Threat
- Threats Received by Telephone
When a bomb threat has been received by telephone the person receiving the call should:
a. Remain calm and concentrate on the exact wording of the message and other details
which could provide valuable information in evaluating the threat. Special attention
should be given to where, what time, why, sex of the caller, race, possible age,
background noises, language used (well spoken, foreign, irrational, etc.) and the
exact wording of the threat.
b. Write down as much as possible of the message immediately, noting as much of the
above information as possible.
c. Do not hang up the telephone. This would negate the possibility of tracing the call.
- Threats Received in Writing
a. Once a written threat is recognized, further handling of the document should be
avoided in order to preserve fingerprints, handwriting, print, and postmarks.
b. All items connected with the bomb threat document should be saved.
- Threats Received Electronically
a. Print messages received electronically, such as email or instant messaging.
b. Do not shut down the computer program.
c. Call the University Police Department at 911, then forward the message to them at
Decisions Concerning Type of Response and Evacuation
When a specific or non-specific bomb threat is received, the University Police shall be notified immediately.
- University police shall respond to the suspect building or area to assist with the search and/or evacuation.
- After consultation with the ranking University Police Officer, the Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee, shall determine whether to order evacuation of the building or area. In the absence of the VPSA or designee, the ranking University Police Officer shall make such determination.
Action Required for Specific Bomb Threat
- When the decision to evacuate has been made, the building shall be cleared of all occupants, as rapidly and orderly as possible.
- The Charleston Police Department and the Charleston Fire Department shall be notified.
- The Office of Media Relations shall be notified.
- All exterior doors of the suspect building shall be secured to prevent entry by unauthorized persons.
- After the building has been evacuated and cleared, and thirty minutes after the designated time of detonation, a thorough search of all rooms shall be conducted by all available law enforcement personnel.
- After the search has been completed and no explosive device is located, the building shall be opened.
- If a suspected explosive device is located, the building shall be totally cleared, and the nearest Emergency Ordinance Demolition team shall be notified. All persons shall be instructed to move to a safe location away from the suspect building or area.
Actions Required for a Non-Specific Bomb Threat
- Following evaluation of the threat, all persons in any suspect building or area may be advised of the existing situation by the University Police by telephone or in person. Anyone who wishes to leave the building may be permitted to do so. The following notice may be given:
"The University has been notified that someone claims there is a bomb in this building. University officials will conduct a search. Anyone who wishes to leave the building may do so without loss of salary or academic credit. You are warned that it may be dangerous to remain in this building. Any persons who remain in this building do so at their own risk. If a search locates evidence of danger, a warning will be sounded at which time all occupants must leave the building immediately by the nearest exits."
- A complete and thorough search of the building shall be conducted by University police officers and other available law enforcement personnel.
- If a suspected explosive device is located, the building and/or area shall be totally cleared, and the nearest Emergency Ordinance Demolition team shall be notified.
Evaluation of Procedures
After a bomb threat incident, a debriefing shall be held to evaluate procedures, decisions, and outcome. The debriefing shall be called by the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) and shall include representatives of agencies and/or departments involved in implementing the procedures.