School districts and public safety agencies across the nation will receive a new package of tools to help handle school bomb threats, federal officials announced Oct. 7.

The centerpiece of the effort is a compact disc with information about such topics as preventing and planning for bomb threats, providing training to staff, and responding to explosions. The program also features a web site, ThreatPlan.org, and reference cards to help schools customize their plans.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) are partners in the project. Leaders of those agencies say off-the-shelf plans for responding to bomb threats are not effective, because school districts vary widely in populations, campuses, and resources.

“Unfortunately, we know it is almost inevitable that schools will receive bomb threats and will need a plan for dealing with them,” said ATF Acting Director Bradley Buckles. “In today’s world, we need to be prepared for all potentially dangerous situations, even when they turn out to be false alarms.”

Even when no bombs are found, as is usually the case, threats cause a climate of fear and force schools to contend with lost class time, the ATF says.

The Bomb Threat CD-ROM is an intearctive planning tool for schools that includes staff training presentation and implementation resources. ATF will distribute the CD-ROM to state and local law enforcement and public safety agencies, and ED’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools will handle distribution to the country’s public and private school systems, officials said.

Links:

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
http://www.atf.gov

U.S. Department of Education
http://www.ed.gov

ThreatPlan.org
http://www.threatplan.org