Bomb threats are one of the most common hazards schools face. Threats can be written, verbal or rumored. The potential for violent incidents involving explosive devices presents an ongoing challenge for schools. Understanding the range and scope of bomb threats can help school administrators and staff better prepare and respond.
Evacuate or lockdown?
The most serious decision when managing a bomb threat is whether to evacuate the building or lockdown. Current best practice suggests locking down may be the favored universal response at least until the item, if there is one, is secured and the grounds are clear of any suspicious item.
All responses need to be practiced and drilled. Students and staff should know how to proceed if the school orders a lockdown, evacuation or reverse evacuation. When determining the most appropriate action three alternatives should be considered:
- Assess the threat
- Evacuate immediately
- Search and evaluate if warranted
All threats must be taken seriously and evaluated on an individual basis until their credibility is determined.