Red wire first? Or Blue?
February 6, 2003 9:35 PM   Subscribe

Handy tips for those new to the bomb threat call in line. This "FAQ" from the LAPD's website is actually a checklist of things novice police phone operators are instructed to ask anyone calling in to leave a bomb threat. Useful information being collected includes tone of caller's voice (raspy? pleasant?), background noise (party atmosphere?) and important personal data about the soon to be bomber (what is your name? what is your address?). Sleep soundly, Los Angeles, your days of random explosions are a thing of the past.
posted by jonson (11 comments total)
Personally, I think, "What will cause it to explode?" should be ranked higher than "What kind of bomb is it?", but then again, I've always been bad at figuring out what makes things explode.
posted by gsteff at 9:52 PM on February 6, 2003

i like the clip art at the top of the form. i wish all bombs looked like that. it would make the bomb squad's job so much easier. or not... the tv/movie bombs have the giant l.e.d. display and it beeps every second.
posted by birdherder at 9:56 PM on February 6, 2003

The single most important question they left out? "Is this one of those 'red before yellow kills a fellow' bombs, or is it of the 'yellow before read, or else you're dead' variety?"
posted by jonson at 10:01 PM on February 6, 2003

Hmm... I filled all the questions in but there didn't seem to be a submit button at the bottom so I could find out what sort of terrorist I would be.

Some fun questions though...

"What is your address? "

Err... i'm on the the corner of Main and do you think i'm a freeking moron?!

Although, levity aside I guess the real meat of it is "KEEP THE CALLER ON THE LINE AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!" and having a script just makes that easy even if you don't really expect sensible answers.

I'm a little supprised to see something like this being published online. I can't decide if i'm pleased that in the age of 'need to know' and 'hightened national security' someone still beleives in freedom of information or if I should be concerned that this really is the sort of thing that ought to be held close to ones chest so to speak. Unlike some...
posted by adamt at 10:47 PM on February 6, 2003

That looks a lot like the bomb threat checksheet at my old job, except with the delicious addition of "bedlam" as a background noise.

Is that bedlam, or is that party atmosphere? Dammit, lives are in the balance!
posted by Sallyfur at 10:50 PM on February 6, 2003

Here's Berkeley's version. Don't forget the "crockery", and apparent Berkeley people can tell the difference between "local" and "long-distance", and whether the caller is "well-spoken (educated)", "irrational", or just "taped".

No cartoon bomb graphics, though.
posted by calwatch at 1:21 AM on February 7, 2003

Old news to us military long as I have been in the service (since '87), we have been required to have these checklists posted by just about every telephone...bright yellow card-stock with black print. Haven't yet had the opportunity to use one, thankfully.
posted by davidmsc at 3:46 AM on February 7, 2003

Hold on...I always thought that LAPD officers were trained in bomb de-fusing techniques anyway so why the need for this? In my experience, given the choice of a hundred wires within a typical bomb they always seem to know which one to snip to stop the countdown (although granted they always leave it a bit late and wait until the counter is at 00:00:01). At least, that's how it is in the movies....
posted by andyHollister at 5:43 AM on February 7, 2003

I'm I the only one who thinks its a good idea to bomb LA?
posted by bondcliff at 7:02 AM on February 7, 2003

This isn't unique to the LAPD or military. Heck, when I worked in retail (as in, folding sweaters, not selling weapons or anything), we had this same checklist by the phone. Except the question "Where is the bomb?" was repeated 3 times. Doing a brief search, it seems as though quite a few schools, organizations and corporations appear to have a similar checklist.
posted by cowboy_sally at 7:20 AM on February 7, 2003

Wow. This looks a lot like the Bomb Threat Checklist that they passed around when I worked at Creative Labs! Boy, were they paranoid.
posted by jmccorm at 12:50 AM on February 8, 2003

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