Safety Policies

SY18 Bomb Threats

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Wesley Sheets, 814-863-6054,

Policy Steward: 

Chief of University Police and Public Safety



To outline the University's policy and procedure regarding bomb threats, and to provide building evacuation procedures.


Threats as to the placement of explosive devices in facilities have become an increasing and real hazard to governmental, business, and school facilities. These threats, by necessity, require the immediate initiation of procedures to ensure the safety of the occupants of the threatened facility. While a threat may be made by an individual against a department or a building for any number of personal reasons, these threats must be presumed to be valid.


A threat may be received by telephone, e-mail, mail, or in person. Threats may be directed to a public safety agency (police or fire), a telephone switchboard operator, the building or department directly affected by the threat, or through a third uninvolved person.

Regardless of which method is used, the following information should be gathered by the person receiving the threat, regardless of how the threat is communicated.

  • Record the exact information given in the threat, the exact words used by the person, whether in person or by telephone.
  • A description of the person making the threat, or of their voice which may be characteristic of a sex, race, or age, with special attention being given to words and terms used.
  • If the threat is made by telephone, listen for background noises which may indicate from where the call is originating. Immediately relay the information to the appropriate police, security or business office, giving your name, location, where you can be contacted, and the exact words used by the caller, as well as the time the call was received.
  • Threats received by an outside agency and relayed to University personnel, should be immediately forwarded to the University Police for further investigation.


If the building is to be evacuated, the evacuation alarm (commonly referred to as the "fire" alarm) may be sounded. The evacuation announcement may be delivered in person by public safety personnel or other means if available. If an evacuation is deemed necessary, all persons in the building will then be expected to leave. Personnel from police or security, or other appropriate persons, will be assigned to prohibit entry or re-entry until the building has been searched and/or a given time period has elapsed. In some cases, sheltering in place may be appropriate. Occupants shall await guidance from public safety personnel.


Upon receipt of the information of a bomb threat, police, security or business office personnel will set into motion procedures to notify appropriate emergency personnel and the persons in the affected building to ensure their safety. At University Park, the following situations will apply:

  • If the threat is deemed to be imminent or credible, the University Police Officer in Charge may authorize the immediate evacuation of a building or area in the interest of public safety.
  • For all other threats, the University Police dispatcher will immediately notify the Assistant Vice President for Police and Public Safety or his/her designee and the Chief of Police or his/her designee.
  • The Assistant Vice President for Police and Public Safety will notify the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business or his/her designee.
  • The Assistant Vice President for Police and Public Safety will consult with the dean of the college, administrative office, director or business officer of the affected area in regards to the decision making process of whether or not to evacuate the building.
  • The Assistant Vice President for Police and Public Safety will also notify the Vice President for Strategic Communications and/or the Director of Public Information.

At Non-University Park locations, security or the business office will notify emergency organizations, i.e., police, fire, medical. The Chancellor or designee, in consultation with the Director of Business Services and/or security, will determine whether the building is to be posted or evacuated.


In case of an evacuation, time spent by police, security or other appropriate personnel in searching the threatened facility can be reduced by cooperation of the occupants of private offices and areas as follows:

  • Prior to evacuating, please take all personal items that you would immediately need during an evacuation. This would include purses, bags, medications, laptop computers etc.
  • If any unusual items are observed, immediately leave the room. DO NOT TOUCH the item and advise the nearest uniformed officer as you exit the building.
  • Restrict the use of cellular phone or any radios until you have exited the building.


During public events or gatherings, the same procedure will be utilized; however, a prepared statement will be given to the announcer, the master of ceremonies, or building management to read to those in attendance.


In the event that a bomb threat is made to a University building, the decision will be made for the building to remain open or be evacuated. Occupants will be made aware of this decision as follows:


If the building is to be kept open, notices indicating the bomb threat will be placed on the entrance doors, and each office, classroom, or other work area will be notified. In such a case, an employee may be assigned to another work location. If not reassigned, the employee will have the option to remain at his or her regular work location, or to leave the building for the period of the bomb threat and be paid for regular work time missed during this period.

When the bomb threat notices are removed from the entrance doors of the building, the employee assigned to another work location is asked to return to his or her building, or the employee who exercised the option to leave during the bomb threat period has a further option to return to the building or remain absent and charge the absence to vacation, personal holiday, or a pay deduction.


If the building is to be evacuated, the occupants of the building will leave immediately. The evacuation distance will be at a minimum 300 feet or the distance of a football field, away from the building or affected area. After a period of two hours, it is the responsibility of the dean, administrative officer, or responsible person to call University Police, security or the business office for further instructions concerning occupancy of the building.

It is also the responsibility of the dean or administrative officer to see that all employees are properly instructed concerning:

  • Immediate evacuation of the building when the evacuation alarm is sounded.
  • Proceeding quickly to a safe distance from the building.
  • Where and when to report to receive instruction for returning to the building.

Normal operations will be resumed when the building is again made available for occupancy. If an employee had not been assigned to another work location and chooses not to return to the original building, he or she will be required to charge the absent time to vacation, personal holiday, or as a pay deduction.

An employee will be paid for any work time missed while the building has been closed. The employee may, however, be assigned to another work location.

An employee who has been assigned to another work location may continue at that location or may be requested to return to the original building. Any employee who elects not to return to his or her own building will be required to charge the absent time to vacation, personal holiday or as a pay deduction.


If the building is vacated within 2-1/2 hours of the end of an employee's work day, the employee shall not be expected to return to that building for the balance of the work day. An employee may be assigned to another work location by his or her supervisor. If not, the employee will not lose vacation time or pay.


University insurance coverage, including Workman's Compensation, continues in effect for an employee while he is working in a building for which a bomb threat has been received.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Assistant Vice-President for Police and Public Safety.


Most recent changes:

  • June 8, 2023 - Updated policy steward and subject matter expert.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • June 10, 2014 - To clarify current operations, the following sections have been updated: RECEIPT OF THREAT, EVACUATION OF BUILDING, POLICE, SECURITY OR OTHER OFFICES, SEARCH OF PRIVATE OFFICES OR AREAS BY BUILDING OCCUPANTS, and IF THE BUILDING IS EVACUATED. Also, policy steward/ further information references has been added, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • May 26, 2011 - Section formerly titled REPORTING THREATS removed; EVACUATION OF BUILDING section moved up (verbiage for former section moved to 3rd bullet in RECEIPT OF THREAT section). Section titled POLICE, SECURITY OR BUSINESS OFFICE has been re-titled to "POLICE, SECURITY OR OTHER OFFICES, " and verbiage added to end of 1st paragraph (re: Senior Vice President for Finance and Business action).
  • December 3, 2007 - Editorial change in "Police, Security or Business Office" section; replaced Campus Executive Officer with Chancellor, for correct title at non-University Park locations.
  • June 19, 2006 - (Editorial change) Revision History added.
  • January 21, 1999 - Changed "Police Services" to "University Police."
  • August 15, 1995 - Added budget executive and budget administrator terminology.
  • April 11, 1988 - Position Title changes.
  • September 1, 1982 - Multiple revisions to the policy.
  • February 25, 1977 - Revisions to IF THE BUILDING REMAINS OPEN section.