Emergency Preparedness

Suspicious Items Guidance from the Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has provided best practices and guidance related to suspicious items or suspicious activities. Explosive devices were among the hazards present during last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol building. And as with any potential or actual incident, all suspicious activity or threat information should be immediately sent to local law enforcement agencies. Criminals or terrorists sometimes conceal improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in backpacks, suitcases, or other common items. If an item is determined to be Hidden, Obviously Suspicious, and Not Typical (aka “HOT”), use the “RAIN” process to safely determine if an item is a serious threat or just unattended. If an item is determined to be suspicious, you should:

  • Recognize the Indicators of a Suspected Explosive Device
  • Avoid the Area
  • Isolate the Suspected Item
  • Notify Emergency Services (911)

In addition, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) stands ready to support our partners to address any ongoing improvised explosive device security concerns. A wide range of resources are available to facilitate the sharing of threat and incident information, assist in decision-making, and enhance security capabilities. The following provides web-based entry points for seeking security assistance and access to various Counter-IED resources:

CISA Office for Bombing Prevention Resources

As always, if you “See Something, Say Something.” For life-threatening emergencies, call 911. To report suspicious activity, call 855-RPRT-2-S4 (855-777-8274).

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