Bomb threats, suspicious mail and explosions

Bomb threat

It is important to note that you should not use a mobile phone or trigger any fire alarms as these devices and sounds may trigger an explosion.

Remain calm and treat all bomb threats as genuine.

There are two types of bomb threats:

  • specific bomb threats - where information will be given about the device or suspicious item
  • non-specific bomb threats - where no information is given, other than information that a bomb is present or nearby.

For both types, where possible, you should ask and record answers to the following questions

  • where is the bomb?
  • what time will it explode?
  • what does it look like?
  • what will cause it to explode?
  • what kind of bomb is it?
  • why did you place the bomb?

Note as many details as you can about the person informing you about the bomb:

  • age
  • ethnicity
  • sex
  • speech
  • accent
  • any background noise that you can identiy.

If a suspicious object is found, leave the object as it is.


Specific and non-specific bomb threats (including mail bomb)

Using a landline, contact the Police and state that you have received either a "specific bomb threat" or "a non-specific bomb threat". If you can, recall the exact wording of the threat.

1-111 (using a University landline)

Contact UniSafe and state that you have received a "specific bomb threat" or a "non-specific bomb threat". If you can, recall the exact wording of the threat.

Phone: 0800 373 7550

Inform the Dean of the Faculty, the Department Head or the Senior Manager for your division.

Suspected mail bomb

If you receive a suspicious package and you believe it to be a mail bomb, do not attempt to open it or cut any strings or wires.

If you have lifted the parcel or package, gently lower it to a level surface.

Evacuate the immediate area to a safer location, leaving all doors and windows open.

Using a landline, contact the Police and state that you have a "mail bomb" and give the exact location and details.

1-111 (using a University landline)


Assistance to emergency services

  • Inform emergency services of threat and details obtained.
  • Have person who received the call or identified suspect parcel be immediately available for interview.
  • Inform emergency services of the location of any bomb or suspicious parcel.
  • Inform emergency services of any areas that have not been cleared of staff/students/visitors.
  • Inform emergency services of any suspicious person or activities witnessed or items that are suspicious.
  • Follow instructions of emergency services.


  • Decision on evacuation will be made by emergency services and the University Incident Controller.
  • Occupants will be informed to evacuate complex verbally. Fire alarms shall not be activated unless specified by emergency services and the University Incident Controller.
  • Evacuation assembly point will be specified in evacuation instruction. This will not be the same as fire evacuation assembly point.
  • Occupants will be instructed to turn off all electronic equipment on their person, eg, mobile phones, iPods or similar portable electronic devices.
  • Occupants shall take all immediate personal belongings such as bags, keys, wallets as the incident may take several hours to conclude and they may not re-enter the complex until the area is deemed safe.
Bomb threat checklist
(77.1 kB, PDF)


An explosion is caused by a rapid expansion of gas from chemical reactions or incendiary devices.

Signs of an explosion may be:

  • a very loud noise
  • series of noises and vibrations
  • fire
  • heat
  • smoke
  • falling glass or debris
  • building damage.

Emergency Action

  1. Get out of the building as quickly and calmly as possible.
  2. Contact the emergency services Dial 1-111 (from a University landline).
  3. If items are falling from shelves or the ceiling, get under a sturdy table or desk.
  4. If there is a fire, stay low to the floor and exit the building as quickly as possible.
  5. If you are trapped in debris, tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are.
  6. Assist others in exiting the building and move to designated assembly areas.
  7. Keep roadways and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews.

Do Not Re-Enter Building as further explosions or structural damage may result in collapse. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive to provide rescue.


Suspicious mail - containing biological or powdered substances

Recent incidents have involved suspicious mail that contain biological or powdered substances. If you receive a suspect parcel

  • stop what you are doing and put the item down!

Do not smell, touch, taste, shake or empty the contents of the parcel or package. Place it into a plastic bag or container and turn off any equipment that could disturb air flow, such as fans or air conditioning.

Where there is a likelihood of contamination, stay where you found the article and step back about 2 metres away. This includes any people directly next to you.

Immediately contact the Police and state that you have received a "suspect parcel". Provide as much detail about the item that you can. Do not use a mobile phone in close proximity.

Phone: 1-111 (using a University landline)

Contact UniSafe
Ext: 966
Phone: 0800 373 7550

If anyone is contaminated, isolate the person and call for medical assistance.

If possible ask a co-worker who was not in the immediate area to notify the Manager or person in charge immediately who will arrange a temporary cordon of the area.

Do not allow co-workers into the isolation area unless it is an emergency situation.

Follow the instructions from your Manager, UniSafe and the emergency services