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Bomb Threats and Explosive Devices

With incidents of terrorism throughout the country and ongoing potential for terrorism locally, it is important to remember that all persons living or working in, or visiting the District play a critical role in preventing crimes and acts of terrorism. The response to bomb threats and suspicious packages presents law enforcement and security personnel with unique challenges and considerations. Bomb threats and suspicious packages must be assessed quickly and accurately by the first responders and the scene comprehensively and properly managed.

Security personnel should be aware that when a bomb threat occurs on privately owned premises where they work, the decision to evacuate the premises is the responsibility of the owner or the person in charge of the property. If on public property, the premises shall be evacuated at the request of the person in charge of the property. If an actual or suspected explosive device is located, security personnel and all persons should immediately evacuate.

To the extent possible, security personnel should follow established protocols for evacuating the building and ensure that no one enters the area or is allowed to disturb or touch the item. Everyone should avoid use of any radio transmitters or cell phones within a one-block radius of the location of the item. After taking immediate safeguards for the protection of life and property, security personnel should notify 911 of the situation and request a response from the Metropolitan Police Department.


This article is part of the MPD’s “Security Snapshot” series, which is designed for security personnel working in the District of Columbia. While this information may be of interest to the general public, any recommendations or guidance in these articles has been created with a focus on security personnel.