Bomb Threat Policy – When Was Yours Last Reviewed?
Category : News
When talking about a bomb threat policy we need to be open-minded to the risks that clients may face. In today’s climate, it’s easy to develop a narrow view of the threats presented to businesses, especially when it comes to acts of terrorism.
It would be worth remembering that an act of terror is defined as ‘an action that is carried out with the intention to cause terror to another party’. With this in mind, potential threats can arise from more than just from religious groups, something that can be forgotten especially with daily media coverage. Other potential threats can develop from disgruntled former employees, competitors or even members of the public who have taken a negative view on the business activities.
In this article, we will break down some of the common misconceptions about bomb threats and help bring supporting policies up to date and more practical.
What is a Bomb Threat Policy for? (BTP)
This may seem like a simple question but for many people who have overlooked or not even read a bomb threat policy; this is an essential question to answer. When summarising the definition of a bomb threat policy we also need to remember that it is better in security to plan for something that never happens; rather than not planning and have something happen.
So a BTP is a document that should be included with site assignment instructions or as part of the larger Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP). [We will cover EPP’s in a later article.] The purpose of the BTP is to outline the procedures that must take place when dealing with bomb threats either received in person or via any other communication system. In days gone by the BTP usually consisted of a single sheet of A4 with a very basic check list; this is both not enough nor adequate for the purpose.
What needs to be in a BTP?
When developing a BTP there needs to be a number of areas included that are not optional; such as Roles & Responsibilities, Evacuation Procedures, Action Plan Options, Device Safe Distances and also more importantly how the decision is made to reoccupy.
Optional areas that can be included are things such as a detailed breakdown of the current threat level; however, for this article; we will only be covering the essentials.
It is also at this time we would like to make something very clear; ALL evacuation points should differ between fire and bomb threat evacuations. If a client plans to evacuate staff to the same areas that would be used during a fire evacuation; this gives the potential terrorist the option to activate a fire alarm and have a device planted in the fire muster point(s). We are sure that upon reading this you can appreciate that this would give maximum casualties. Separate muster points must always be implemented for both fire and bomb threat evacuations.
Bomb Threat Policy Breakdown
In this section, we will break down the BTP very briefly and in order to maximise understanding; we will use the template that we have included with this article. (Template available at bottom of article)
|Policy Statement||To introduce the document and outline when the BTP is to be used.|
|Responsibilities||Gives a clear breakdown of who is responsible for each aspect of the procedures under the policy. This can be given by name or position. This section is normally only used to identify direct roles and responsibilities of individuals, not for group actions.|
|Staff||This section is similar to the above; however, deals with group roles within the procedures. i.e. The security teams role|
|Reporting Procedure||Who needs to be contacted and at what stage|
|Call Recording||Outline what information needs to be recording during the call and also different ways to discover further information whilst engaged in the call. (Appendix of template is designed to assist with this)|
|Search Procedure||Further broken down into roles and responsibilities including what to do at key points such as the discovery of a device, contacting emergency services and high-risk areas to prioritise for searching.
The emergency services will expect on site staff to assist with the search as they will not know what is and is not suppose to be there, especially on an industrial site.
|Evacuation Plan||Must include what steps lead to an evacuation; including no action and partial evacuation. Also details on muster areas and safe distances for different size devices. This is also where details should be included on when to reoccupy the premises and who is to make this decision.|
|Call Checklist||Normally included as an appendix|
Must Have Essentials
- Clear roles set out with full training carried out regularly
- Up to date reporting procedure included within the document
- SEPARATE muster points for fire and bomb threat evacuations
- Checklist for recording call details (a separate copy of this should be easily available)
- Detailed and easily understood search procedures
- Device stand off information for different size devices
- Reoccupy procedure detailing who is responsible for the decision
Summary (a personal message)
Unlike many of my other articles, I am going to break with the normal ‘business’ context of writing and instead will talk straight as if I was talking to you in person. I know that many reading this article will be thinking things such as ‘it will never happen to me’ or ‘what is he on about? he isn’t MI5’… I will be honest I do not blame you as this subject is so far removed from the normality of life that it is easy to become some what ignorant to the risks that are out there. Recent events in the UK and further a field must show that this can happen to anyone… anywhere… and it is each of our responsibilities to prepare for anything that might happen no matter how small the chance.
I am going to be honest; the one thing that really breaks my heart is the fact that the people guilty the most of being ignorant to this level of threat is fellow security operatives who I see in the industry on a day to day basis. We can look back not only to recent events such as the Manchester Arena attack; but also even further to attacks carried out by the IRA. Sadly the days of only seeing suicide bombs and terror on the TV have past and now the threat is closer than ever to your doorstep.
To each and every one of you who have stayed with me this far; download the document, edit it to fit your needs and let’s get it implemented.
Video to Watch
Manchester 1996 IRA
Did you read our article about Defining Security Operational Requirements Level 1?