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Bomb Threat

Bomb Threat Large

Bomb threats are assumed to be real and considered a threat to the university. If you receive a threat of any kind, immediately dial 911.

Bomb threats are usually received by telephone, sometimes by note or letter. Most bomb threats are made by callers who want simply to create an atmosphere of anxiety and panic – but all calls must be taken seriously.

If you receive a threatening call, remain calm. Keep the caller on line as long as possible to learn as much as you can. You can ask questions as long as they don’t anger the caller. If you can, activate caller ID and note whatever the telephone displays. Make a detailed, written record of the call. A useful checklist is available from the Virginia Tech Police Department or the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF).

Be observant

Note, for example, the exact time of the call and the caller's exact words. During the call, if you can, note or ask the following:

  • When is the bomb going to explode?
  • Where is the bomb?
  • What does it look like?
  • What kind of bomb is it?
  • What will cause it to explode?
  • Did you place the bomb?
  • If so, why?
  • Where are you calling from?
  • What is your name?
  • What is your address?

Also take note of the following qualities and characteristics of the caller's voice:

  • Calm, angry, excited, or stressed
  • Slow or rapid
  • Crying
  • Slurred, stutter, or lisp
  • Deep or high
  • Loud or quiet
  • Giggling
  • An accent
  • Sincere
  • Squeaky
  • Disguised
  • Did the voice sound familiar? If so, who did it sound like?
  • Any background noises (machinery, traffic, other voices, music, television, etc.)?

Immediately after the call ends, contact the Virginia Tech Police Department by calling 911. In addition:

  • Notify your supervisor.
  • If the threat was left on voice mail, do NOT erase it.
  • Do NOT activate the building alarm system to evacuate.

If you receive a threatening email or message

  • Immediately contact the VT Police by dialing 911.
  • Do NOT delete the email.
  • Forward the email as directed by public safety officers.
  • Do NOT activate the building alarm system to evacuate.

If a written threat of an explosive device or other danger is received, contact the police immediately by calling 540-231-6411 (for Blacksburg campus) or 911. The threat should never be ignored. Once a threat is recognized, unnecessary handling should be avoided, but try to preserve evidence such as fingerprints, handwriting or typewriting, paper, and postal marks, which are essential to tracing the threat and identifying the author. For more detailed information, check out the Threatening or Harassing Message section of this site.