All authorities are in agreement that the most effective and fastest search of a building can be made by the normal occupants of that building. No community can supply the number of police officers or firemen it would take to make a fast thorough search of a facility of any size such as the academic and public assembly facilities on campus. Even if such manpower was available, they would still not be the best qualified to conduct the search.
Since the terrorist does not label the device with the word "bomb,” what should you look for? What does a bomb look like? No one knows. It can be packaged in as many different ways as the maker's imagination will allow. Some devices may be the size of a cigarette package, while others may be as large as a 2-ton truck.
Since the object of the search can vary in size and shape, it is a fundamental rule that the search must be made by persons who are familiar with the area in order to notice a strange or foreign object. However, the use of personnel who occupy the premises to conduct the search may present problems with the hysteria that can result from the threat unless there has been careful planning beforehand.
In devising a search plan, the building or premises to be searched should be divided into areas and each person assigned a room or area. Personnel so assigned should make a survey of the area and note what objects normally occupy the area. Grill covers over heating and air-conditioning ducts should be inspected so that a subsequent inspection would reveal any entry or tampering.
In some instances the detonation or ignition of any explosive or incendiary might depend on a change in environment, e.g. temperature variations or the presence of an electric current. Therefore, the personnel assigned to conduct the search should be cautioned not to cause, or at least minimize any change in the environment. Do not go into a dark room and turn on the lights or change the setting of the room thermostats.
Other search techniques that can be employed are:
Communications During Search
A rapid two-way communication system is of utmost importance. Normally, communication among administrators, officers, search teams and the command post can be accomplished through the existing telephone system. DO NOT USE walkie-talkie radios while searching an area. The radio beam could cause premature detonation of an electric initiator (blasting cap).
Suspicious Object Located
NOTE: It is imperative that personnel involved in the search be instructed that their mission is only to search for and report suspicious objects, NOT to move, jar or touch the objects or anything attached thereto. The removal/disarming of a bomb must be left to professional bomb technicians.
Buildings and Structures
Auditoriums and Theaters
Searches must be conducted under each seat, into cut seat cushions, as well as the following:
Bombings in academic buildings are usually directed against non-student areas.