Combination of Technology and Common Sense
By Cpl. 168 Lucius Lake
Since the outcome of September 11th attacks
in the USA and the threat of Anthrax , plus a reminder of the
Oklahoma City bombing, it is practically impossible to determine
at the outset whether or not a bomb threat is real.
Bombs can be constructed to look like almost
anything and can be placed or delivered in a variety of ways
and places. The probability of finding a bomb that looks like
a stereotypical bomb, like seen on television is almost non-
existent. The only common factor that exists among bombs is
that they are designed or intended to explode.
Most bombs are home made and can be limited
in their design only by imagination of, and resources available
to the bomb maker. With the advent of the internet and the wealth
of information available, one only has to surf the Net and find
the relevant sites, then either download the information or
purchase the literature.
Why Bomb Scares
The caller wants to create an atmosphere of
anxiety and panic which will in turn, result in a disruption
of normal activities and reduction in revenue collection at
the facility where the device is purportedly placed, e.g. Schools,
Banks, Supermarkets and Private Companies as it relates to St.
Lucia. The caller could also be a disgruntled worker or colleague
and wants to get even, because of an action taken by management.
Through proper preparation, one can reduce
the accessibility of a building and identify those areas that
can be easily accessible by the possible bomber. This would
limit the amount of time lost to searching. Proper planning
can also reduce the threat of panic, the most contagious of
human emotions. In the context of a Bomb Threat, panic is the
ultimate achievement of the caller.
NOTE: All Bomb Threats must
be taken seriously. There are no excuses for not taking every
step necessary to meet the threat.
How to Prepare
In preparing to cope with a Bomb Threat, it
is necessary to develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
or a Bomb Incident Plan known to all members of staff, with
drills done every quarter or as deemed necessary by management
and should include:
1. Chain of command after threat is received; who do you call
2. Initiate evacuation of facility, carrying all personal items,
i.e. work & gym bags, lunch kits (inform other business
establishments within close proximity)
3. Call the Emergency Services, Police and Fire Service
4. Assembly Point (should be at least 300 meters away from facility)
5. Head count, all personnel should be accounted for
6. Person who received call should await the arrival of the
Police to be interviewed
7. Supervised search to be done by a member of staff along with
the Bomb Squad personnel.
Telephone Switchboard Operator
All personnel, especially Telephone Switchboard
Operators, should issue a calm response to the bomb threat caller
as it may assist in obtaining additional information. Keep the
caller on the line as long as possible and record every word
spoken. Pay particular attention to background noises such as
vehicles passing by, music playing and any other noise which
may give clues to the location. Listen closely to the voice
(male, female), voice quality (calm, stern, excited), accents
(patois, America, French etc.) and speech impediments (stammering).
The Royal St. Lucia Police Force has a number
of persons who have been trained overseas and are able to attend
to all Bomb Threats received.