Bomb Threat: How Safe Is Your Evacuation Plan

The plan was to call in a bomb threat and then attack students as they evacuated the building…

“Police said the alleged plot was for a bomb threat to be called into the school. As students and staff were evacuating, the two students would shoot people as they came out.”

If your office, school, or workplace is being evacuated, don’t go to the evacuation point. Go anywhere else. Go home.  If the threat to your respective organization is significant enough for them to initiate an evacuation…your day is over.  If your building administrators believed it likely enough for the threat to be real, than there are likely bigger issues at play. Take the rest of the day off and let the officials investigate.

Schools and office buildings are a matrix of inter-connected and compartmentalized areas that offer their own protection in the form of dispersion and separation. Evacuation locations negate this protection by having everyone move from their respectively disjointed locations and instead come together at a single, pre-designated position.  If someone really wanted to do the most harm, the evacuation point would offer the most “bang for the buck” because almost all evacuation points are outside of the secure perimeter, rehearsed ad naseum, and as shown above, easily researched online. Just do a simple #firedrill social media search and you’ll be able to find thousands of well-documented locations of mass assembly.

 

Building a bomb is not easy. It requires a lot of planning and privacy. Think about all of the steps required. First, a person must believe that a targeted bomb attack not only offers the most effective resolution for their grievance, but that doing so offers the highest likelihood of success.  They would then need to conduct research on the kind of bomb that will not only accommodate their needs, but who’s construction also falls in-line with their own capable know-how. Then comes the acquiring of materials required to construct such an explosive device, followed by a need to find a “work station” that would allow for them to privately assemble all of the components. Assuming they are not a professional bomb-maker, they would then need to “test” their explosive device to make sure it will work as planned, and then make the requisite adjustments for “the real thing.”  Now comes the most critical component of their pathway to violence. They still need to conduct research on their target, breach whatever security features are in place, emplace the device, and then somehow get away undetected.
All of this is an incredibly arduous endeavor.  There are literally thousands of chances for the bomber to fail, but only one chance for them to succeed. So, why would they go through all of this activity only to sabotage their success with a phone call?

In short, they wouldn’t.

As a general rule, those who threaten, don’t bomb, and those who bomb, don’t threaten.

Unless of course, the threat itself is part of the plan.

Be smart. Be aware. Stay Alive.

Bomb Threat Checklist: http://emilms.fema.gov/is906/assets/ocso-bomb_threat_samepage-brochure.pdf

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Renewed concerns for safety dominate the news cycle after today after the terrorist attack on a popular hotel in Somalia left more than 14 people dead and dozens more injured. This al Shabaab attack comes just ten days after a similar attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia left 21 dead.

Most business leaders are aware of the risk associated with bringing their services into the marketplace, but what about those concerns inherent to their actual place of business? However unlikely it may be for a business to be directly targeted, the reality is that too few businesses have not taken any proactive measures to effectively reduce their vulnerability. The fact of the matter is that we can no longer afford to live in a world where we simply hope that nothing will happen, and then solely rely on the first responders to save us once something does. Today’s safety requires our participation. For far too long, over-arching security measures have done nothing more than vacillate between hyper-vigilance and complacency. Safety lies in the middle – a byproduct of awareness and preparation.

Take An Honest Look At Your Current Security Measures

Most business leaders are aware of the risk associated with bringing their services into the marketplace, but what about those concerns inherent to their actual place of business? However unlikely it may be for a business to be directly targeted, the reality is that too few businesses have not taken any proactive measures to effectively reduce their vulnerability. The fact of the matter is that we can no longer afford to live in a world where we simply hope that nothing will happen, and then solely rely on the first responders to save us once something does. Today’s safety requires our participation. For far too long, over-arching security measures have done nothing more than vacillate between hyper-vigilance and complacency. Safety lies in the middle – a byproduct of awareness and preparation.

“The chances of something happening?

A statistically low percentage. But if it happens…it’s 100%”

Access Control

The problem with keys is that they work all the time. They are cheap, frequently lost, and easy to copy. Keys don’t validate their user the way card readers and key-codes do. Consider dual-authentication options to limit and monitor access.

Keeping people out is easier than getting them out. Effectively controlling who’s allowed through your front door is especially important if once someone is allowed inside there is nothing preventing them from having free-reign throughout the rest of your establishment. If there is no access control through the front door, than compartmentalization is important. Much like a bank who’s lobby doors are open to the public, few have access to behind the teller desk, and even less have access to the vault. Effective access control is the most effective, yet most underemployed precaution for ensuring workplace safety.

Safe Havens

A safe haven is nothing more than a place you know you can go to be safe. Everyone knows if there is a fire to evacuate the building. What most people don’t know is where to go next. In an emergency, it’s always best to go from unsafe to safe. The parking lot fifty feet from the building may be a safe distance from a fire in the break room, but it is not a universal safety precaution from other threats that are just as likely to occur. Hiding under your desk and or hiding in an office, likely won’t do much good either. (bullets travel through doors and walls) If you have the physical ability to run…RUN. A moving target – especially one gaining distance with each step is hard to hit. Take some time to talk with your staff about where you can all go for accountability, continuity, and safety should you ever have to leave the office in a hurry. Even if it’s just to the Starbucks down the street, make sure everyone knows where to go and knows how to get there. Identifying safe havens is a lot like wearing your seatbelt: Often just a precaution, but invaluable when needed.

Protective Intelligence

Protective Intelligence is the process for collecting and assessing information about persons who have interest, motivation, intention and practical capability to do harm. Someone may not see everything, but everything is seen by someone. When it comes to identifying and assessing those events that are most likely to be a concern, information is invaluable. The creepy, curly haired guy you noticed going through the work trash out back, write it down. The flower delivery guy who for-whatever-reason made the hair on your neck stand-up, write it down. See the obsessive gym guy who won’t take no for an answer driving by your office, write it down. The smallest things can be huge indicators when viewed through the prism of space and time. Chances are, others saw something too. Even if you talk about it with your coworkers in the break room, writing it down while it’s still fresh in your mind will not only serve as confirmation of what you saw, but will provide a time/date stamp to compare against similar reports. Those wishing to act with violent intent must engage in some aspect of research and planning that makes their behaviors observable to the general public. Trespassing, surveillance, and attempting to breach security are all pre-incident indicators of violence. Start a simple email address at work that can be universally used by all, like “concern@BusinessName.com” The more puzzle pieces you provide, the more likely a potential hazard can be managed toward peaceful resolve. After access control, an effective protective intelligence and threat assessment program is the next most important precaution for reducing risk and preventing violence.

Safety is often nothing more than the by-product of awareness and preparation. Taking a few moments to put a plan in place is sometimes all you need to prepare today for a safer tomorrow.