DYNAMIQ IN THE NEWS: BOMB THREATS IN OUR SCHOOLS

Over the last two weeks, schools across Australia have received a spate of bomb and active shooter threats. This follows a series of similar threats made to schools in the United States, France, Japan and Guam.

A hacker group known as the Evacuation Squad, based in Russia and Iran, have claimed responsibility. The threats are being received in the form of automated telephone recordings, and contain no political or religious messages that would indicate a connection to a politically motivated terrorist group.

Police Inspector Paul Ready of the Queensland Police stated that, “the threats do not appear to be coordinated to target specific schools”. The New South Wales Police said earlier this week that, “There is no evidence that these threats are anything other than hoaxes designed to cause unnecessary disruption and inconvenience”.

A number of schools in Sydney received threats via social media last October. In this changing threat environment, Dynamiq suggests the following for schools:

 

Bomb Threats

1) All bomb threats should be taken seriously. Do not ignore a threat, regardless of its nature.

2) The person receiving the threat should make note of all relevant information (keep a threat checklist near the phone)

3) Once a threat has been received, notify the police immediately

4) If the threat is received via phone, do not hang up the call. Police may be able to trace the call even after it has been terminated at the source

5) Evacuate targeted buildings immediately

 

Active Shooter Threats

If there is an actual active shooter incident in progress, school staff should follow the national Active Shooter Guidelines for Places of Mass Gathering, which are as follows:

1) Escape – Your priority action is to remove yourself and others in your area from close proximity to the offender, or areas that they may be able to access. If possible, escape would be to an off-site assembly point, or if option is not safe, then to a more secure building within the school grounds.

2) Hide – If you deem it unsafe to escape, your secondary option is to shelter in place (lockdown). In this instance, consider barricading yourself and others in a secure area, remain quiet and silence any devices such as mobile phones.

3) Take Action – If you are under direct threat and it is not possible to escape or hide, then as a last resort it may be necessary to incapacitate the active shooter. This can include throwing available objects or using aggressive force when confronted. Such action should only be taken as a last resort and in order to protect the life of the individual or others in that area.

The national guidelines also recommend the development of a specific plan for the management of an active shooter incident, as standard emergency management may not be effective. An example of this is the use of evacuation points.

 

Evacuation

Consider the suitability of standard evacuation assembly points. Lining students up in a nearby park or oval is not a safe option and only presents a target for an armed intruder. An off-site assembly point should to be out of range of firearms (300m) and not observable from the site. Preferably a nearby building which can provide security, shelter, water and toilet facilities would be ideal, as the students and staff may not be able to return for several hours. Consider nearby schools, libraries, or sporting facilities.

If there is a threat of an active shooter, schools should consider activating a lockdown procedure. If it safe to do so, it is advisable to move students to the more secure buildings and wait for police to arrive.

 

Crisis Management

Parents can often find out about an incident via social media before it is picked up by the news media. In order to avoid a panic within the school community, it is advisable to inform parents of an incident using available communication methods such as SMS or school messaging apps.

If you require further assistance or information on how to plan and prepare for a bomb or active shooter threat, contact Philip Kent-Hughes: Philip.KentHughes@dynamiqglobal.com

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