Bomb threats: Are we ready and what should we do?

Gibson Akers

During the past week, there have been bomb threats called into four different universities across the United States, causing campuswide evacuations and disrupting classes for most of the day.

On Friday, Sept. 14, the University of Texas in Austin, North Dakota State and Hiram College all received bomb threats. Then on Monday, Sept. 17, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge received one as well.

Officials at Iowa State said the students are well-protected as there are several procedures in place should a similar event happen on campus.

“[The Department of Public Safety] and the university have strict plans, procedures and policies in place to handle any type of emergency on and around campus,” said Lt. Elliott Florer, the ISU Police Department. “The university and DPS are ready and capable of handling such an event.”

DPS’s procedure will help decide how extreme the threat is and the appropriate action to take, Florer said.

“Emergency notifications will be made through the ISU homepage, social media, TV, radio and, most importantly, ISU Alert,” said Annette Hacker, director of News Services.

If there is an emergency on campus, such as a bomb threat, the fastest way to know will be issued through ISU Alert, Hacker said.

ISU Alert is an automated service that will notify students of emergencies via voice message, text message and email. The service is offered to both students and faculty.

According to university officials, all students should be signed up automatically; however, they may need to update their contact information. This can be done by signing into AccessPlus. Once on the home page, click on ISU Alert.

In the event of an emergency, students can follow the instructions and updates from the alerts, which will give the safest advice.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and DPS, bomb threats are a serious matter and should never be taken lightly. If a bomb threat is issued, students should follow the instructions of authorities. They should leave the area as quickly and as calmly as possible.

According to FEMA’s website, the public should not stay in an evacuated area, or crowd sidewalks or streets because emergency vehicles may need to get through. They should also stay away from suspicious packages or objects and stay away from windows or other hazardous objects.

Florer also asked for students to stay vigilant and to contact authorities if they are suspicious of a person or object on campus.

A false bomb threat is a federal offense, and with most technology being traceable, it would only be a matter of time before the authorities catch the suspect.

“The full force of the law will be used to find and convict the prime suspect.” Florer said.