Bomb Threats

Bombings or threats of bombing are now harsh realities in today's world. While most bomb threats turn out to be hoaxes and most suspicious packages are harmless, it is important that all threats and suspicious objects be treated seriously. Time is of the essence when a bomb threat is received, and we must be ready to react quickly and efficiently to minimize the risk of injury to students, staff, faculty and visitors. These guidelines are designed to help Yeshiva University community members prepare for the potential threat of explosive-related violence.

These guidelines and a Bomb Threat Checklist should be kept next to every university telephone. (A copy of the Bomb Threat Checklist is located on the last page of this guide)

Telephone Threat  

A calm response to a bomb threat caller could result in obtaining additional information. This is especially true if the caller wishes to avoid injuries or deaths. If told that the building is occupied or cannot be evacuated in time, the bomber may be willing to give more specific information on the bomb's location, components, or method of initiation. When a bomb threat is called in:

  • Keep the caller on the line as long as possible. Do not interrupt except to ask the caller to speak louder, slower or to repeat the message.
  • Record pertinent information on a Bomb Threat Checklist. Do not hang up until the caller hangs up.
  • If the caller does not indicate the location of the bomb or time of possible detonation, ask him/her for this information.
  • Inform the caller that the building is occupied and the detonation of a bomb can result in death or serious injury to many innocent people.
  • Pay particular attention to background noises, such as motors running, music playing, vehicle traffic and any other noise, which may give a clue as to the location of the caller.
  • Listen closely to the voice (male or female), the mood of the caller (calm, excited, despondent, etc.), accents or speech impediments.
  • Report the threat to Security immediately after the caller hangs up. Security will then implement its bomb threat response procedure.
  • Remain available in the event that Security or other law enforcement personnel want to interview you.

Written Threat

While written threats are usually associated with generalized threats and extortion attempts, a written warning of a specific device may occasionally be received.

  • Save all materials including the envelope.
  • Once the message is recognized as a threat, further unnecessary handling should be avoided in order to preserve evidence.
  • Report the threat to Security. Security will then implement its bomb threat response procedure.
  • Remain available in the event that Security or other law enforcement personnel want to interview you.

Letter & Package Bombs

While the likelihood of receiving a bomb through the mail is remote, letter or package bombs represent an alternate delivery method if the motive of the attack is to inflict injury on a specific individual. Bombs can be constructed to look like almost anything and can be placed or delivered in a number of ways. Its appearance is limited only by the imagination of the sender. However, the following characteristics may help you in identifying a suspicious letter or package:

  • FEEL & BALANCE - Letters feel rigid, appear uneven or lopsided or are bulkier or heavier than normal. Sponginess or undue pressure can be felt through the package. Contents of  the parcel may make a "sloshing" noise.
  • PLACE OF ORIGIN - Check the delivery postmark to see if the place of origin is familiar. Check to see if letter shows a city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address
  • FOREIGN PACKAGES - If the item is from another country ask yourself if it is expected. Look for foreign writing, addresses and postage.
  • UNUSUAL ADDRESSING OR DELIVERY INSTRUCTIONS - There are unusually restrictive endorsements such as "Personal," "Private" and "Confidential" or has no return address.
  • PACKAGING - Packaging wrapped in string are automatically suspicious, as modern packaging materials have eliminated the need for twine or string.
  • POSTAGE - Excess postage on small packages or letters indicate that the Post Office did not weigh the object. No postage or non-cancelled postage should also be a warning.
  • WRITING - Handwritten notes such as "Fragile," "Rush" or "Prize Enclosed," a foreign style of writing (not normally received), misspelling of common names, places or titles and mail addressed to generic or incorrect titles should be treated with caution.
  • ODOR - The mail or package emits the smell of marzipan or almonds or any other peculiar odor.
  • APPEARANCE - Leaks, stains, protruding wires, string, tape or tinfoil are present.
  • SOUND - Any package that emits a buzzing, ticking or other unusual noise should be treated with caution.
  • TELEPHONE CALLS - Any packages or letters arriving before or after a phone call from an unknown person asking if the item was received is suspect.

If a Suspected Letter or Package Bomb is found.  

  • Under no circumstances should anyone move, jar, touch, tamper or interfere with the object or anything attached to it.
  • Report the location and an accurate description of the object to Security.
  • Security and Facilities personnel should not use portable radios to report a suspicious object as they can sometimes cause the premature detonation of an explosive device.
  • If possible, open all doors and windows in the area where the object is found to minimize primary damage caused by the blast and secondary damage caused by fragmentation.

If it is determined that an evacuation is necessary, you will be directed by security to completely evacuate your building. Follow instructions from security personnel to avoid areas of concern.

  • Take personal belongings such as purses, briefcases, knapsacks and shopping bags with you so they are not confused with suspicious packages by those conducting a bomb search.
  • Know your escape route in advance. Also be prepared to use an alternate exit in case your primary route is obstructed. Pay attention to all alarms and public address system announcements.
  • Follow instructions given by Fire Wardens, Security and NYPD personnel.
  • Never use an elevator to evacuate unless directed to do so by Security.
  • Once outside, move well away from the building, especially away from windows.

If you receive a telephone threat, remain calm and try to keep caller on the line. Use this checklist as a guide and to document the details of the threat. 

Immediately Notify and Submit Checklist to Security
Wilf (24 hour): (212) 960-5200   Beren: (212) 340-7460   Cardozo Law: (212) 790-0303

Questions to Ask Caller:

1. When is the bomb going to explode?
2. Where is the bomb right now?
3. What does the bomb look like?
4. What kind of bomb is it?
5. What will cause the bomb to explode?
6. Did you place the bomb? Why?
7. Where are you?
8. What is your name?
9. What organization do you represent?

Circle all of the voice characteristics and background sounds that apply.

VOICE

MANNER

BACKGROUND SOUND

Loud

Calm

Street

Soft

Coherent

Bar/Restaurant

Intoxicated

Angry

Factory

High Pitched

Emotional

Subway

Deep

Laughing

Office

Accent

Other

Other

 

Was the caller male or female?
Approximate age?
Was the caller’s voice familiar?
Was the caller well spoken?
Did caller read a prepared statement?
Telephone # of caller
Time call received
Date call received
Your name
Your phone number(s)