Terrorist Incidents & Bomb Threats


There is usually little or no warning for a terrorist incident. An individual must use his/her own discretion during a terrorist incident as to how to respond.  However, best practices for a terrorist incident are listed below:

At all times

  • Be aware of your surroundings.

  • Note suspicious items, packages, or vehicles that seem out of place and report them to the appropriate authorities.

  • Note suspicious activities or behaviors and report them to the appropriate authorities.

Potential targets recognized by the U.S. Government

  • Airports, seaports, and harbors

  • Major cities or landmarks

  • Large crowds

  • Infrastructure such as power plants, transportation centers, or communication centers

  • Business and industrial centers such as Wall Street or a World Trade Center

Types of terrorist attacks

  • Explosive devices cause detonations which throw debris into the air and start fires.  Explosive devices can be left in place and detonated remotely or carried by a vehicle or even an individual.  Explosive devices are used in most terrorist attacks.

  • Biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins typically make people sick.

  • Chemical agents are toxic to people, plants, or animals, and are found in the form of solids, liquids, vapors, or aerosols.

  • Radioactive attacks include nuclear explosions and “dirty bombs.”  A “dirty bomb” is designed to spread radioactive material over a region. 

Protective measures to implement following a terrorist incident

  • Distance yourself from the location of the incident and seek shelter as soon as possible. 

  • Follow instructions from College Police or public agency personnel.

  • If exposed to a chemical agent or if you have trouble breathing, use your clothing as a simple filter by covering your face and breathing through your clothing. 

  • If exposed to a chemical, biological, or radioactive agent, change out of any contaminated clothing, shower, put on clean clothing, and seek medical attention as soon as possible.   

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible for any injuries, if you have trouble breathing, or believe you were exposed to a contaminating agent.

Suspicious Packages & Bomb Threats

The information in this guide helps with identifying suspicious packages, devices and responding to bomb threat telephone calls. If you have identified a situation that you believe requires police intervention, please call the SMC PD Dispatch Center at 310-434-4300 or use your LiveSafe Safety App if there is an immediate threat. The dispatcher will ask you a series of questions to better understand the concern and relay it to the appropriate responders. Note:  All calls are prioritized based on the information provided and the perceived threat to the public.

Suspicious Packages or Devices/Packages may have the following characteristics:

  • Foreign mail, air mail, and/or special delivery
  • Excessive postage (usually in stamps instead of an official postal strip)
  • An unofficial return address or no return address
  • Hand written or poorly typed address
  • Addressed to incorrect title, but no name
  • Restrictive markings such as, "Confidential" or "Personal"
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Oily stains, discoloration, or a strange odor
  • Excessive weight
  • Rigid envelop
  • Envelop with more than ordinary thickness (1/8" or more)
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Protruding wires or tinfoil
  • Excessive securing material (tape, etc.)
  • Visual distractions (excessive graphics on the envelope/package

If you see someone leaving a package fitting the above descriptions, call SMCPD immediately with a description of the individual and, if known, their direction of travel.

If a Suspicious Device/Package is Found:

  • Do not handle it unnecessarily.
  • If you have not already touched it, do not touch it.
  • If you have already touched it, gently place the envelope or package in a stationary position near where you first picked it up.
  • Call SMCPD immediately: 310-434-4300 or local police, 9-1-1.
  • Secure the location. Make sure no one moves the package. 
  • Follow the procedures for bomb threats below.

What to do if you receive a bomb threat:

  • Immediately notify SMCPD's Dispatch, giving your name and all information you have about the threat.
  • SMCPD will assist the appropriate staff to determine if the building should be searched and/or evacuated.

If a suspected bomb is located:

  • Notify SMCPD's Dispatch Center.
  • Isolate the area.
  • Be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so.

Bomb Threat Form

(To be completed if you receive a bomb threat phone call)

When is the bomb going to explode?
The exact words of the person placing the call:
Sex of the caller