||Response to Possible Bomb Deliveries
Explosives have served terrorists for hundreds of years as a weapon for executing attacks against people and facilities. The simplicity, versatility, and tremendous power of explosives have made bombing the most popular method of terrorist attack worldwide. As such, it is important that citizens have a basic understanding of safe procedures for responding to possible bomb deliveries and post-blast situations.
Bomb Delivery Indicators
Most terrorist bombers provide no warning prior to executing attacks. Nevertheless, there are circumstances associated with bomb delivery that you, as a citizen, may observe:
Abandoned objectsparticularly in public places
Abandoned vehicles in locations close to logical targets (symbolic buildings, etc.)
Additional vehicle-related indicators may include:
Vehicle parked in a no-parking zone
Vehicle with missing or forged license plates
Vehicle with covered or taped windows
Vehicle containing drums, barrels, or other bulk containers
If you observe the actual delivery of the object or vehicle, there are additional indicators that can suggest a possible bomb delivery. In many covert bomb deliveries, the bomber will enter an area, discreetly set an object in place, and leave the area on foot or in a vehicle. In the case of a vehicle bomb delivery, this would most likely be observed as a driver parking the vehicle and then departing the area in a second vehicle or by foot. Especially note if the driver appeared nervous or hurried when leaving the area, or if the "escape car" was occupied by another driver and waiting while the object was delivered or the suspicious vehicle was parked.
If any of these types of behavior or circumstances are observed, warn others in the area of a possible bomb delivery and immediately initiate a proper response.
Indoor Bomb Situations
In most indoor bomb situations, the safest course of action is to evacuate the building. If you are at work, immediately move away from the area of the suspicious object and alert everyone nearby to its presence. Ensure that building security is notified, and evacuate the building using a stairwell or corridor along a route shielded from the location of the suspicious object. While evacuating, be aware of the possible bombs location and avoid moving under or over the object. Instruct others to also evacuate and to avoid the bombs location.
Once you have evacuated outside, move to an area at least 300 feet from the building. If your buildings security plan has a designated assembly area, move to that location. Avoid any locations with overhead glass or brick. If the suspicious object was near a window or entrance, avoid any areas within line-of-sight of the suspicious object.
Once you have arrived at the assembly area, look around for any other suspicious objects or vehicles. Bombers occasionally place secondary devices at possible assembly areas to target evacuees and emergency responders. If possible, organize others to search the assembly area.
If you were the person that observed the suspicious object, make contact with police as soon as they arrive on-site. Brief police on the objects appearance and its location. First responding police will usually focus on ensuring that everyone has evacuated the building and that the area is secure. Remain with the police supervisor until bomb disposal technicians have arrived. They will usually re-interview anyone who witnessed the object before entering the building.
Vehicle Bomb Situations
In most situations in which suspect bombs are identified, facility evacuation is initiated immediately. History has shown, however, that in many vehicle bomb situations arbitrary evacuation of buildings can actually increase the risk of casualties. In most large-scale bomb detonations, structural collapse is a hazard only to buildings located in very close proximity to the bomb, but broken glass and falling debris may be encountered along streets a great distance from the site of the blast. Evacuation of people located in buildings outside of the structural collapse danger range often increases the risk of casualties by exposing the outdoor evacuees to glass and debris hazards. In these cases, the evacuees would be much safer if they remain inside the building away from exterior walls, windows, and weak structural areas.
In the United States, the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) has addressed this issue by establishing separate guidelines for evacuation of people located inside buildings and people located outdoors. These guidelines were developed considering the potential damage of different-sized vehicle bombs.
The chart below displays TSWGs evacuation distances for people located inside building refuge areas and people located outdoors. Under these guidelines, all people located inside buildings within the indoor hazard range should be evacuated from their buildings and moved beyond the outdoor evacuation distance or to indoor shelter areas further away from the location of the bomb. People located inside buildings beyond the indoor hazard range should remain inside the building in refuge areas away from exterior walls, windows, and weak structural elements.
If the decision is made to seek refuge indoors, move to the interior of the building to a location away from glass or overhead fixtures (lights, pipes, etc.). Avoid locations over wide spans, such as atriums, auditoriums, or large lobbies. Once you have reached the refuge area, orient yourself to the exit stairwells and identify at least two possible ways out of the building. Ensure that the refuge area has a means of communication (telephone) or that you or others have a working cell phone.
Once you and others in the area have taken refuge, remain in place until the area is declared clear by authorities. If possible, turn on a radio or TV to maintain track of what is occurring outside. Avoid using the cell phone unless absolutely necessary. Cellular communication networks and the local telephone exchange may be overwhelmed by calls that can interfere with or delay response by police and emergency responders.
If the decision to evacuate is made, evacuate the building using a stairwell OPPOSITE the side of the building where the suspicious vehicle is located. Once you and others have reached street-level, evacuate from the area using streets that are shielded from the location of the suspicious vehicle. While evacuating, avoid walking near buildings with glass or brick facades. If traffic is stopped, it is usually safest to walk up the center of the street.
If the suspicious vehicle was an automobile, evacuate to an outdoor assembly area at least four to five city blocks away from the location of the possible bomb (1,750 ft. or more). For trucks, move at least ten blocks away (3,750 ft. or more). If you are not sure what type of vehicle it was, move at least ten blocks away or follow the instructions of police directing traffic. Ideal assembly locations should be free of overhead glass and projectile hazards. Good examples of such locations include cemetaries, golf courses, and open parks.
If there are public buildings along the evacuation route, it may be wise to seek refuge inside using the same guidelines described earlier for indoor refuge. However, be sure that the building you seek refuge in is at least three or more blocks from the location of the suspicious vehicle.
Overt Bomb Deliveries
Overt bomb deliveries are usually executed as suicide attacks. In most cases, the bombers initial approach to the target by foot or by vehicle will appear innocent until the bomber believes that detection is imminent. At that point, the bomber may make no effort to conceal his actions and may physically force himself or his vehicle through barriers and obstacles to get as close as possible to the target before detonating the device.
In these types of situations, there is usually very little warning prior to detonation of the bomb. If you observe a person forcing their way to a possible target or a vehicle trying to breach obstacles, immediately warn others in the area and seek refuge. If indoors, get away from the windows and move to the center of the building under a strong table or desk. There will usually be no time for evacuation. If outdoors, get down on the ground behind a curb or berm. Cover your head and ears in anticipation of the explosion.
Additional Tips and Safety Guidelines
1. NEVER attempt to touch, move, or cover a suspicious object!
2. If you can see the suspicious object or vehicle, you are in the WRONG place! Evacuate using a shielded route.
3. Be conscious of secondary devices. Bombers may use more than one device in an attack.
4. Avoid using radios or cellular phones near the location of suspicious objects or vehicles. The RF energy emitted during transmission may accidentally activate the device.
5. When evacuating the location of a possible bomb, always be conscious of the suspicious objects location and avoid areas with glass, brick, and other possible debris hazards.
6. Do not use elevators when evacuating buildings.
The key to protecting yourself and others is placing distance and shielding between yourself and the location of the bomb!
NEVER touch, move, cover, or open a suspect object!
Always assume that there may be more than one bomb!
Iif a possible vehicle bomb is identified outside of a building, always move building occupants toward the interior of the building as a first move. Ensure that evacuees remain away from glass, brick, overhead fixtures, and weak structural elements.
Once people reach an internal refuge area, assess the need for evacuation. If evacuation is warranted, use a shielded evacuation route that minimizes exposure to possible glass and debris hazards.