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FAU Emergency Management LogoPhysical/Psychological Threats



Bomb Threats

What should I know about bomb threats and devices?

Goals of a Bomb Threat: Motivation and goals for making a bomb threat usually comes from one of two goals:
•    The Hoax Caller: To create an atmosphere of panic and anxiety, in hopes disrupting normal activities or operations at the location it is alleged to be placed.
•    The Credible Caller: The caller has a definite knowledge or believes that an explosive device has been or will be placed, and he or she wants to warn of the threat to minimize personal injuries or property damage. The caller may be the person placing the bomb or someone who has become aware of information they believe to be credible.

Official Bomb and Incendiary Device Expert: While University Police may be called on to search for, locate, or isolate a possible bomb, local authorities are certified in handling and disposing of bomb devices. No employee of the University is authorized to handle or otherwise try to open or dispose of the device.

What are types of bomb threats?

The Phone Threat (most common):

•    Do not disconnect the caller.
•    If possible, transfer the call to University Police Dispatch.
•    If the call cannot be transferred, the receiver should remain calm and try to obtain as much information as possible before the caller hangs up.  In this case, the receiver should immediately contact campus police and provide the information obtained.
•    Information You Should Obtain (if possible):
     -    When will it (they) explode?
     -    Where is it (they) located?
     -    What does it (they) look like?
     -    What kind of a bomb(s) is it?
     -    Who is (are) the target(s)?
     -    Who is the caller and how can he or she be reached?
     -    Why was it (they) placed?

The Letter Threat:

A bomb threat received by letter or in other form of writing should be retained, along with the envelope itself.   Once the recipient realizes what it is, contact University Police Dispatch immediately .  Handle the document as little as possible, to protect it as a possible evidence exhibit.

The E-Mail Threat:

Experienced persons can create e-mail accounts under fictitious names and use public computers to send it, so while anonymity is not the rule, it is possible. A person receiving a bomb threat via e-mail contact University Police Dispatch immediately . Again, the message should not be deleted. 

Suspicious Package

What is a suspicious package?

FBI Suspicious Package Advisory

Any item that is out of place and not easily identified. Suspicious packages can range from unopened letters to unattended backpacks. Reasons for concern include:

•   Is the item leaking a fluid or powder?
•   Is the item wrapped in duct tape or plastic wrap?
•   Are there protruding wires or an unusual odor?
•   Is there a reason to suspect targeting the items location?

 What should I do if I discover a suspicious package?

•   Do not open, shake, sniff, touch, taste, or look closely at the contents.
•   Notify University Police/911.
•   Secure the area: This avoids possible spread of contaminants.
     -   Inform occupants in immediate vicinity to vacate, however, advise that they stay within the general area so that they can be interviewed by University Police, EH&S personnel and other responders to determine whether they should undergo decontamination measures, be transported to a medical facility or require medical surveillance.
•   Make a list of all the people who were in the vicinity of the suspicious package.

What should I do if I believe I’ve been contaminated?

•   Wash your hands and any exposed skin with soap and water.
•   Immediately notify University Police/911.

What will happen next?

•   A police officer will respond and assess the situation and activate an emergency response team should concern remain in reference to the package.
•   An evacuation determination will also be made.
•   Depending on the nature of the package and circumstances involved a criminal investigation will commence.

Psychological Crisis

What is a psychological crisis?

This occurs when an individual is threatening harm to themselves or others, or is out of touch with reality.

What are signs of a psychological crisis?

The crisis may manifest as
•   Uncontrollable behavior or
•   Being disruptive or threatening
•   Hallucinations,
•   Paranoia

Troubled or less severe psychological crises may involve uncontrolled crying, feelings of panic, withdrawal, or anger/yelling (without indications/threats of physical harm). If the psychological crisis resolves quickly in response to attention and kindness, no intervention of professional counselors or officers may be necessary. Plans for follow-up support should be put in place (i.e., a follow-up conversation, a referral to counseling, an action-plan should the situation become acute again, etc.). If the crisis does not resolve, or escalates, follow the guidelines below for a major psychological crisis.

What should I do if someone around me is experiencing a psychological crisis?

A major psychological crisis always requires the intervention of trained personnel.
•    DO NOT attempt to handle the potentially dangerous situation alone.
•    CALL 911. * All suicide attempts should be immediately reported to the police* .
•    CONSIDER the safety of the person in crisis and those around him/her to be of first concern.
     -  Counseling and Psychological Services   personnel can be contacted for consultation or assistance in resolving the situation or provide post-trauma counseling and referrals. The Dean of Students Office of Student Crisis Awareness Committee should be contacted for continued assistance.
     -  More information is available at students in distress.

University Police will work with departments such as the Department of Human Resources or Counseling and Psychological Services as deemed  appropriate and when necessary, exercise authority granted by the Florida Mental Health Act (F.S.S. 394), also known as the “Baker Act”.

What should I do if I am a student and experiencing a psychological crisis?

•    Go to the nearest hospital emergency room or
•    Call after-hours crisis line at 561-297-3540 during nights and weekends:
•    Contact Florida Atlantic University’s Counseling and Psychological Services for less severe crises.
•     Counseling and Psychological Service   provides individual and group counseling to currently enrolled FAU students. It’s professionally trained staff seeks to assist students with social, emotional, and academic concerns in a sensitive, caring, and confidential manner.

What should I do if I am an employee and experiencing a psychological crisis?

•    Go to the nearest hospital emergency room or
•    Call your family physician or  
•    Contact the University's Employee Assistance Program.

Criminal or Violent Behavior

What do I do if I observe or am a victim of a criminal act or violent behavior? Or if I observe suspicious activity or person/s?
If you observe a criminal act or are a victim, immediately report it via:
•    Campus phone: 911
•    Public phone: 911
•    Blue Light Emergency Phones

What do I need to do after reporting the suspicious activity, criminal act or violent behavior?

•    Assist the officers when they arrive by supplying them with all additional information and asking others to cooperate.

What do I need to do if there is gunfire or explosives discharged on campus grounds?

•    Take cover immediately using all available concealment.
•    Seek emergency first aid if necessary, after the disturbance.
•    Call 911.

Hostage Situations

What should I do if I’m taken hostage?

•    Be patient. Time is on your side. Avoid drastic action.
•    The initial 45 minutes are the most dangerous. Follow instructions, be alert and be cooperative. Do not make mistakes which could endanger your well-being.
•    If you are caught by the intruder and you are not going to fight back, do not look the intruder in the eyes, and obey all commands.  Don’t speak unless spoken to and then only when necessary. Do not talk down to the captor who may be in an agitated state. Avoid appearing hostile.
•    Remain calm. Avoid speculating. Comply with instructions best as you can. Avoid arguments. Expect the unexpected.
•    Be observant. You may be released or escape. The personal safety of others may depend on your memory.
•    Be prepared to answer the Police on the phone. Be patient and wait. Attempt to establish rapport with the captor. If medications, first aid, or restroom privileges are needed by anyone, say so. The captors in all probability do not want to harm the persons held by them. Such direct action further implicates the captor in additional offenses.

 Last Modified 3/5/18