Bomb Threat/Suspicious Item

​Bomb threats or suspicious items should always be taken seriously. How quickly and safely you react to a bomb threat could save lives, including your own.

If you receive a bomb threat or see something that looks suspicious, do not assume it's a hoax; TAKE ACTION.

If you See Something, Say Something

  • Do not touch, move or open the object.
  • Isolate area by moving people away from the immediate location.
  • When you are away from the suspicious item, call 911.

Bomb threat

A bomb threat can be received via the phone, mail, fax, email, note or in person. Most important actions to take when receiving a bomb threat:

  • Remain calm; try to get someone's attention to listen in on the call; and obtain as much information as possible from the caller:
    • When is the bomb going to explode?
    • Where is it?
    • What does it look like?
    • What will cause it to explode?
    • Why did you place the bomb? 

  • Write down the phone number, if you have caller ID that is displayed. Remember:
    • Woman's or man's voice?
    • Approximate age?
    • Accent?
    • Tone of voice?
    • Background noise?

  • Notify police by calling 911. Ask for immediate assistance, follow their instructions and provide the following information:
    • Location (building and room number) of the bomb threat.
    • Information gathered above.
    • Your name and a number to reach you.
DO NOT EVACUATE DURING A BOMB THREAT UNLESS TOLD TO DO SO.
CMU Bomb Threat Checklist

Suspicious Item

A suspicious item is defined as anything that is out of place and cannot be accounted for or any item suspected of being an explosive device.

Typical characteristics of a suspicious item:

  • Excessive postage, no postage or noncanceled postage.
  • No return address or obviously fictitious return address.
  • Packages that are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you.
  • Excessive tape.
  • Improper spelling of addressee names, titles or locations.
  • Packages that are addressed to someone no longer with your organization or otherwise outdated.
  • Rigid, bulky, lopsided or uneven.

Even though your first action during a bomb threat is not to evacuate it's still important to know the difference between evacuation and sheltering in place.