Bomb Threats and Suspicious Packages

No one is immune to bomb threats and attacks. On June 22, 1993, a geneticist at UCSF, became a victim of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, when he received a bomb at his home. In 2008, UC Santa Cruz researchers’ homes and vehicles were bombed by animal extremists.

If you receive a telephone bomb threat:

  • Remain calm, be courteous, listen to and do not interrupt the caller.
  • Get the attention of another person; hand off a note saying, “call UCSF Police – bomb threat – 9-1-1.”
  • If your phone has caller ID display, record number of incoming call.
  • Write down the exact words of the caller and threat.
  • Don’t hang up the phone. Leave line open.
  • Notify a supervisor.

Use this Bomb Threat Checklist to record details from the call.

What to look for when receiving suspicious mail:

  • No return address.
  • Restrictive markings.
  • Misspelled words. Bold type or written.
  • Unknown powder or suspicious substance.
  • Possibly mailed from a foreign country. Excessive postage.

What to look for when receiving a suspicious package:

  • Excessive tape.
  • Oily stains, discoloration on wrapper.
  • Strange odor.
  • Incorrect title or addressed to title only.
  • Rigid or bulky.
  • Lopsided or uneven.
  • Protruding wires.

If you receive a suspicious package or mail:

  • Stop! Don’t handle
  • Isolate it immediately.
  • Don’t open, smell or taste

Immediately call 911 from a campus telephone or 415/476-6911 from an off-campus telephone.


Wash your hands with soap and water.