Bomb Threat and Suspicious Package/Letter

It is possible, although highly unlikely, that a staff member may someday receive a threatening telephone call, letter or e-mail, or might receive a suspicious parcel or discover a suspicious item somewhere on campus. 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.

Procedures to Follow 

For any threats or suspicious packages received or found:

  1. Call 9-1-1 immediately and provide information as to how the threat was received (telephone, letter, note).
  2. Do not touch, move, or open a suspicious object. If you have opened it, remain calm.
  3. If the package is leaking a substance or powder and you came into contact with the substance, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, mouth, or any part of your face. Do not touch others or let others touch you.
  4. Do not attempt to clean or cover anything that might have spilled from a package.
  5. Keep others out of the area. Close off the area if possible.
  6. Evacuate the immediate area.
  7. If possible, limit the use of two-way radios and cell phones near the suspicious item.
  8. Wash your hands and arms with soap and water for at least one minute.
  9. Follow instructions of emergency personnel.

If you receive a phone threat:

  1. Keep your voice calm.
  2. Keep the caller on the phone to obtain as much information as possible.
  3. Pay close attention to details and take notes.
  4. Ask questions
    1. When will it explode?
    2. Where is it right now?
    3. What does it look like?
    4. What kind of bomb / threat is it?
    5. Where did you leave it?
    6. Did you place a bomb?
    7. Who is the target?
    8. Why did you plant it?
    9. Where are you?
    10. What is your name?
  5. Notes to document
    1. Date, time and phone number, if available, of call
    2. Age and gender of caller
    3. Speech patterns (accent, tone)
    4. Emotional state (angry, agitated, calm, etc)
    5. Background noise (traffic, people talking and accents, music and type, etc.)
    6. Caller’s message, conversation, comments

What to look for when receiving a suspicious letter or package:

  • Excessive tape or postage, no postage, or non-canceled postage
  • No return address or obviously fictitious return address
  • Hand written or poorly typed address
  • Restrictive markings such as Confidential, Personal, etc.
  • Packages that are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you
  • Packages that are addressed to someone no longer with your organization or otherwise outdated
  • Misspelled words
  • Unknown powder or substance, stains and/or discoloration on wrapping
  • Unexpected envelopes from foreign countries
  • Oily stains, discoloration, or strange odor
  • Rigid, bulky, or lopsided
  • Lopsided or uneven
  • Protruding wires


 Subject matter expert: UAPD – Updated: April 2023