The deadly May 2018 explosion at a medical office building in Aliso Viejo, CA, is a somber reminder that building occupants need to be on alert for possible bomb threats in their facilities. The explosion had come from a suspicious package delivered to the building, something that could threaten any facility. Preparing for a possible threat is an unfortunate but ultimately important task that facilities managers need to do.
To aid preparations for these kinds of crises, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Bombing Prevention (OBP) has provided a number of resources to help facilities deal with the threat of an explosion. Its TRIPwire program provides resources to help you prepare for the worst. Follow these tips and use these resources to prevent bomb threats.
The DHS Bomb Threat Guidance Brochure
1) Keep Your Emergency Plans Updated
Give your emergency plan frequent attention so that it remains up-to-date and fresh in everyone’s memory. Staying well informed about bombing prevention will allow you to hold an open dialogue with building occupants.
Large facilities need extra attention to ensure they have the right plans in place. The Sports and Entertainment Venues Bombing Prevention Solutions Portfolio is a newly released set of resources to counter the threat of explosions in facilities like large stadiums, casinos, hotels, theaters, offices and public areas available for consultation through the OBP.
With the Solutions Portfolio, FMs can access OBP’s trainings, products and resources, which point them to the right resources for individual facilities. You can use these resources to inform your practices and empower your employees in a moment of crisis.
The Solutions Portfolio is available at www.dhs.gov/obp.
2) Distribute Important Resources
Bomb scares cause chaos in facilities, so it is important to be prepared even though building occupants might be panicking. Bombing Prevention Lanyard Cards from the department help building occupants stay on task during a high-stress scenario.
These lanyard cards include easy-to-access information and reminders of key actions to take in the event of an incident. Attach them to badges or ID holders and display them in breakrooms and kiosks. You want all employees to be able to prevent incidents, recognize and report suspicious items and behaviors, and act quickly to minimize chaos and save lives.
These cards help employees identify the chain of command and who to contact if they see suspicious activity. They also provide quick guidelines of how to respond to suspicious interactions, bomb threats and evacuation.
By having a specific plan in place and resources in the hands of employees, you give your organization the best chance of properly handling a crisis.
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3) Take Advantage of Free Resources
Any way that you can provide important information to building occupants will help in the event of a crisis, so use free materials that the department provides.
At www.dhs.gov/counter-ied-awareness-products, you can download a number of bomb threat guidance products, including guides, checklists and posters.
Utilize this bomb threat checklist.
For even more bomb threat preparation, you can schedule briefings and trainings for employees by contacting your local Protective Security Advisor (PSA). There are over 100 outreach officers available for extra planning support.
Find an advisor in your area by emailing PSCDOperations@hq.dhs.gov.