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Bomb Threats and Suspicious Packages

Bomb threats should be taken seriously until proven otherwise. Act quickly but remain calm and obtain as much information as possible from the threat. Immediately report all information by calling 911 or University Police at 304-293-3136.

Procedures Per Scenario

If a bomb threat is received by phone:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. Keep the caller on the line for as long as possible. Do not hang up.
  3. Listen carefully and show interest to try to keep the caller talking. Learn as much information as you can.
  4. If possible, write a note to a nearby person to call the authorities, or as soon as the caller hangs up, immediately notify them yourself.
  5. Take note of the caller’s phone number and/or caller ID.
  6. Write down as much detail about the threat as possible. Try to get exact words.
    • Where is the bomb located? (i.e., building, floor, room)
    • When will the bomb detonate?
    • What does the bomb look like?
    • What kind of bomb is it?
    • What will make it explode?
    • Did the caller place the bomb? Why?
    • What kind of language is used in the threat? (i.e., incoherent, a read message, taped, irrational, profane, well-spoken)
  7. Write down as much detail about the caller as possible.
    • What is the caller’s name?
    • Where is the caller located?
    • What can you hear in the background of the caller’s environment? (i.e., animal noises, street noises, PA system, conversations, music, machinery)
    • What is the estimated age of the caller?
    • Does the caller sound like they are male or female?
    • Is the caller’s voice familiar? Who do they sound like?
    • Does the caller have an accent?
    • What is the caller’s disposition? (i.e., angry, calm, crying, excited, disoriented)
  8. Immediately upon termination of the call, call 911 or University Police at 304-293-3136 and provide all information that you have collected.

If a bomb threat is received by handwritten note:

  1. Call 911 or University Police at 304-293-3136.
  2. Handle the note as minimally as possible.

If a bomb threat is received by email:

  1. Call 911 or University Police at 304-293-3136.
  2. Do not delete the message.

If you receive a suspicious package:

  1. Signs of a suspicious package include:
    • Stains
    • Strange odor
    • Strange sounds
    • Rigid, uneven, irregular or lopsided packages
    • Packages with soft spots, bulges or excessive weight
    • Protruding wires
    • Poor handwriting or cut-and-paste lettering
    • Improper spelling of names, titles or locations
    • Incorrect titles
    • Unexpected delivery
    • Foreign postage
    • Suspicious or threatening messages written on package
    • Unprofessionally wrapped packages or excessive use of tape, strings or other wrapping
    • Packages marked “Fragile: Handle with Care,” “Rush: Do Not Delay,” “Personal” or “Confidential”
    • No return address or fictitious return address
    • Excessive postage, no postage or non-canceled postage
    • Postmark with a different location than the return address
  2. Call 911 or University Police at 304-293-3136.
  3. Remain calm and do not touch, open or move the package. Do not show it to others or allow others to examine it.
  4. Do not shake or empty the contents of the package.
  5. Do not sniff, touch, taste or look closely at the package or any contents that may have spilled out of the package.
  6. Do not touch your eyes, nose or other body parts. Thoroughly wash hands.
  7. Do not use a cellular phone or two-way radios around the package. Radio signals have the potential to detonate a bomb.
  8. Do not activate the fire alarm.
  9. Turn off window air conditioning units and fans.
  10. Make a list of all people who touched the letter or package and/or were in the area when the package was received.