Bomb Threats & Swatting

Contact Information

Bomb Threats

Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 9.61.160 states "It shall be unlawful for any person to threaten to bomb or otherwise injure any public or private school building, any place of worship or public assembly, any governmental property, or any other building, common carrier, or structure, or any place used for human occupancy; or to communicate or repeat any information concerning such a threatened bombing or injury, knowing such information to be false and with intent to alarm the person or persons to whom the information is communicated or repeated."

Most bomb threats are received by phone, but threats also have been posted on social networking sites or delivered via other media. Bomb threats are serious until proven otherwise. If a bomb threat is received-whether a single call, robocall, handwritten note, text message, social media post, or other medium-there are several things to consider.

Best Practices
  • Handle bomb threats on a case-by-case basis in consultation with local law enforcement

    • There should be no automatic evacuation unless a bomb is obvious
    • Staying in the school may be the best option
  • Train staff on how to handle a bomb threat when it appears to have credibility
    • Staff should know their assigned rooms/areas
    • Staff should check their areas of responsibility for anything that may be out of place or suspicious
    • Staff should not try to move or handle it
  • Work with your local law enforcement agency. Build this into your overall safety planning.
  • Work with your district PIO and prepare informational responses ahead of time. Be ready to answer questions such as "why didn't you evacuate?" or "did you leave my child in a building where there might be a bomb?"
  • Build all of the above into your district and site-based EOP/safety planning.
    • An additional consideration: if the perpetrator is a minor student, require the family of the minor who sent the bomb threat to pay restitution costs. In some jurisdictions, districts were able to recover those costs from offenders' families.
Planning and Resources


Swatting is defined as a false report of an ongoing emergency or threat of violence intended to prompt an immediate tactical law enforcement response. Swatting is not a new threat; it has evolved over the last decade or so and includes a range of tactics and techniques used to cause false public alarm and divert law enforcement resources to a hoax threat. Certain incident types and tactics have tended to receive more media coverage than others. Swatting scenarios include bomb threats, active shooter scenarios, threats of an imminent shooting rampage, hostage scenarios, and threats involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosives agents.

Swatting Resources