Guidelines for handling Bomb threats in Hotels and Resorts
When a hotel receives a bomb threat, the primary concern must be always be the safety of the guests and staffs. It is required to have a bomb threat response policy to ensure the maximum margin of safety.
In the event of a bomb threat and an evacuation is initiated, the exit routes and assembly areas should be searched prior to vacating the premises. All hotel guests and staff should not be allowed to re-occupy the building and resume normal activities until a search has been conducted.
All hotels should prepare a emergency or contingency plan with logical and chronological steps to handle these situations.
Handling Bomb threat by Front office staffs - As bomb threats are often received by phone, the person receiving the call should be prepared to obtain the below information: ( It would be ideal to prepare a checklist with the following points and kept on an area which is easily accessible by the staffs during such emergency )
The time the call was received and on which telephone number or extension
Callers telephone number. ( If the hotel is having a operator board which displays the callers telephone number).
The Exact words of the person making the threat.
Listen to any background noises such as traffic, music, railway station, loud music etc.
Note down the gender of the caller and also the approximate age.
Any particular accent or familiar voice.
The Person who receives the threatening call should be prepared to ask the following questions if the caller did not mention the same.
Where is the Bomb located ?
When is it going to explode ?
What does the bomb look like ?
Why did you place the bomb?
What is your name?
The caller may provide specific information by answering these questions. It would be helpful to the police and officials if any additional information is obtained. The employee receiving the call should notify their manager immediately and provide a completed Bomb threat check-list.
Following actions to be take by the hotel management team:
Call up urgent meeting with all HOD's on the designated area to start the emergency response plan.
Notify the Police or other officials responsible for handling Bomb threats .
Assist the Police with directions and layout of your hotel to initiate the search.
Immediately initiate the evacuation procedures once the same has been received from the Police.
The evacuation of the hotel can be similar to the fire evacuation procedure.
The person who attended the call should be available to give detailed explanation about the call upon request from Police.
Actions to be taken after a suspicious object has been found. When an unidentified object or package is found, the finder must not attempt to move or handle it. Notify the designated emergency response room and give the below details:
Location of the object.
Reason why they consider it as a suspicious object.
Description of the object.
Any other useful information about the object.
Remove persons at risk.
Establish access control of the area and ensure no one approaches or attempts to move the object.
Endeavour to establish ownership of the object. There are been issues like legitimate property has been left behind in error by innocent persons prior to the bomb threat being received.
Continue the search procedure, until all areas have reported to the designated emergency response room as there will be more than one unidentified objects.
If an unidentified object is found, a quiet and systematic evacuation from the area should be initiated.
Re-occupation of the building is a decision that must be made by senior management in consultation with the police. If the evacuation was made without a search, the premises should be searched before re-occupying the facility.
Any effective Bomb Threat Procedure must be accompanied with an adequate training program. Training the essential personnel should encompass both the preventative and operational aspects of the procedure.