Bomb threat and response tools

You may have already seen the announcement regarding the suspected explosive devices found on barges along the Ohio River. Although an arrest has been made, the investigation is still ongoing. It is not clear at this time if the incidents are connected or if there are multiple actors here.

Our Association has decided to not take the incident lightly, but to use this as a reminder to always be diligent in our security practices, on land and water. To do this, I would like to share some tips on how to strengthen security, whether required by the Coast Guard or voluntary company practices.

  • Since the incident, the US Coast Guard has required a one-time fleet sweep;
  • A voluntary company practice is to ensure a full 360-walk around at every switch;
  • Hiring practices, including all required licensing, background checks should remain thorough;
  • Listen to the “nagging voice in the back of our minds”. When anyone takes the time to be observant within their environment, that voice tends to have a reliable track record of identifying and notifying us of things that seem out of place.  It is our tendency to second guess that voice that nefarious actors rely on as an opportunity to exploit a vulnerability.
  • Those in a leadership position should have a clearly communicated (and simple) plan of action which can aid their employees in discernment of a potential issue and how to best report it. To assist in this process, you will find helpful information published by the Office for Bombing Prevention below.

The Office for Bombing Prevention (OBP), a division of Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has created a one-pager bomb threat procedure and checklist. This quick reference checklist is designed to help employees and decision makers of commercial facilities, schools, etc. respond to a bomb threat in an orderly and controlled manner with the first responders and other stakeholders. The document can be found here.

Planning and preparation can seem like overwhelming activities. Reacting to the threat in an orderly and controlled manner while keeping everyone safe starts with education and planning. Please access OMBs Planning guide (2-page quad fold) here.

The OMB also offers the Multi-Jurisdiction Improvised Explosive Device Security Planning (MJIEDSP) Program. MJIEDSP is a planning and assessment program managed by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)’s Office for Bombing Prevention (OBP), consisting of a series of tabletop exercises that integrate counter-improvised explosive device (IED) capability analysis, training, and planning to enhance IED prevention, protection, mitigation, and response capabilities of participating jurisdictions. MJIEDSP assists participants in identifying roles, responsibilities, and capability gaps within a multi-jurisdictional planning area in alignment with the National Preparedness Goal for Countering IEDs. The MJIEDSP one-pager fact sheet can be found here.