Read the news and it seems like terrorists are having a blast everywhere–with the recent attacks in Pakistan, Baghdad and Brussels. Right here at home, a bomb threat disrupted classes for thousands of Ateneo de Manila students. It may have been a hell-sent opportunity for some students out there to skip classes but this isn’t a joke anymore. The world seems to be entering an “age of terrorism” and it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared. If you run a business, attend school, hold a job or even just leave the house in general, keep these things in mind if faced with a bomb threat.
8. Prevention is key: stay aware of your surroundings
As Mad-Eye Moody said in Harry Potter, “Constant vigilance!” Always be aware of your surroundings. This used to mean just spotting the nearest lavatory or the most clandestine smoking corner. Now you really have to note where the emergency exits are on your floor, and take initiative to find out where your building or residence’s evacuation points are.
7. Steer clear of suspicious individuals
If someone around you is acting shady, don’t ignore your gut feeling. Take all practical precautions, including informing the proper authorities. If you’re aware of a bomb threat and there has yet to be an announcement regarding partial or full evacuations, steer clear of vendors, messengers with large bags or packages or people with bags who are behaving oddly as they could potentially be bombers in disguise. Go on and get that pizza guy frisked—after all, it’s better to be safe; you can say sorry later.
6. Notify the authorities
If you’re on the receiving end of a bomb threat on the phone, do your best to keep your head. “Aaaaugh! There’s a bomb in the building!” is the most ill-advised response you can make in that situation. Try to keep the caller on the line as long as possible by calmly asking simple questions, and forward the call to the person in charge. Don’t forget to take note of exact times and other details.
You can also reach out to the following:
Philippine National Police at hotline 117 or (02) 722 0650
Bureau of Fire Protection at (02) 426 0219, (02) 426 3812 and (02) 426 0246
Red Cross at hotline 143, (02) 527 0000 and (02) 527 8385 to 95
Contact the Philippine bomb squad at 436 0948 or 924 3101, or find the full list of contact details for their Luzon offices here
5. Turn off your mobile devices
Cellphone signals are commonly utilized as a trigger for explosive devices. Shelve the desire to contact your loved ones and to take a selfie of the evacuation proceedings. All phones should be turned off, even a TV remote or any device that emits any kind of signal.
4. Don’t assume
In a bomb-threat situation, assuming things may be more fatal than proverbial curiosity. Don’t assume that there’s only one bomb planted in the vicinity. In cases wherein a full evacuation is called, follow the procedures and avoid touching or moving any object around you, even the most innocent-looking item. One usually assumes that the common and familiar things are safe–they are actually the best place for trip wires. And don’t assume that bombs all run on either a timing mechanism or a remote trigger. Some are rigged as booby-traps, set off by motion and vibrations. Your safety lies in keeping the calmness of everyone around you, moving quickly but smoothly and quietly–sound also creates vibrations. And for heaven’s sake it’s not the time for that old prank of popping a paper bag.
3. Don’t change the surroundings
If you find yourself in a position of responsibility, make sure to inform the people around you not to touch anything. Important evidence might be unintentionally tampered with, or devices might be triggered if untrained professionals conduct a search of their own. More importantly, don’t turn off the water, electricity or gas, as these could also work as triggers. Unplugging your laptop could be the last act of power saving you’ll ever make.
2. Never discredit a bomb threat without an investigation
It is always up to the management whether to call a partial, full or no evacuation if/when a bomb threat is received. Regardless of how harmless a threat may seem, always notify the authorities so that they can launch a proper investigation into the matter. There are hoaxes aplenty, but unlike the ones you scoff at on Facebook a bomb-threat caller will always have an endgame.
1. Shield yourself from possible debris
Do not simply evacuate a building or area only to wait outside and see how the scene will unfold. Take yourself to an area that, in case of an explosion, will be free from debris and other threats to your person. If it’s a real bomb, it won’t just go off with a flash-bang. Things are likely to fly off in distressing velocities, all over. Rubber-necking is one sure way to get heads blown off.
What other tips do you have? Share them in the comments below!