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Skidmore College
Emergency Preparedness

Bomb Threat

A bomb threat may come to the attention of the receiver in various ways. It is important to compile as much information as possible. Please do not attempt to notify or evacuate an entire building, as this could consume valuable time that would be better used to gather important information. Please keep in mind that the vast majority of bomb threats are false and are primarily intended to elicit a response from the building occupants. However, that being said, do not ignore the threat; report it immediately to Campus Safety at 518-580-5566. In the case of a written threat, it is vital that the document be handled by as few people as possible, as this is evidence that should be turned over to the Department of Campus Safety. If the threat should come via email or other electronic means, make sure to save the information on your computer, cell phone or other mobile device. Most bomb threats are transmitted over the telephone; thus the following instructions will be provided with that assumption.

Immediate Action

  • Remain calm. If applicable, pay attention to your telephone display and record the information shown in the display window.
  • The objective is to keep the caller on the line as long as possible in order to gather as much information as possible. Try not to anger the caller at any time.
  • While engaging the caller:
    • Pay attention to any background noise and distinctive sounds (machinery, traffic, other voices, music, television, etc.).
    • Note characteristics of the caller's voice (gender, age, education, accent, etc.).
  • Attempt to obtain information on the location of a device (building, floor, room, etc.).
  • Attempt to obtain information on the time of detonation and type of detonator.
  • Immediately after the caller has ended the call, notify the Department of Campus Safety at 518-580-5566.
  • If the threat was left on your voicemail, do not erase it.
  • Notify the immediate supervisor within your work area.

Decision to Evacuate

The decision to evacuate a college facility shall be made after a thorough evaluation of the information available, including but not limited to:

  • The nature of the threat
  • Urgency of the threat
  • The specificity of location and time of detonation
  • Circumstances related to the threat (i.e. political climate, events leading to the threat, etc.)
  • Discovery of a device or unusual package, luggage, etc.

The Department of Campus Safety will contact the police and discuss the incident with affected department supervisors and administrators to make a decision regarding evacuation and searches.

Employees are directed to make note of any unusual package or circumstance that may assist in the search. Employees may also be asked to volunteer to search based on their intimate knowledge of their surroundings.

Decision Maker(s)

The decision to evacuate will be made by the appropriate college authority based on a review of the above-stated variables. Evacuation will be accomplished by activating the facility fire alarm system and will follow the instructions developed for each facility/building. This decision may to be discussed with administrators and police for their input.

Subsequent Procedures/Information

Staff can be of assistance to the Department of Campus Safety in several ways. Staff will be more familiar with their work area than the safety officers. As the search is conducted, staff may be asked to identify boxes or objects in their work area. The importance of good housekeeping will be very apparent at this time. Throughout the year, it is important to keep areas free of unnecessary debris. If an evacuation is necessary, classes will be dismissed. If a device, package, bag, etc., is discovered, the Department of Campus Safety will ensure that the appropriate authorities are notified to respond, such as the New York State Police Bomb Disposal Unit. The decision to resume normal activities in the building will be made by the EMC in consultation with the president and/or appropriate responding agencies.