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WSU police highlight bomb safety protocol

Due to recent bomb threats on other campuses across the country, the Weber State University police department sent out a special bulletin concerning bomb threat protocol, including a bomb threat form written by the Department of Homeland Security.

College campuses in Louisiana, Texas, Ohio and North Dakota have recently received bomb threats, which prompted the e-mail sent out by WSU police officer Lieutenant Mike Davies.

The campuses of the University of Texas at Austin, North Dakota State University in Fargo, and the smaller Hiram College in Northeast Ohio were all evacuated Sept. 14 due to bomb threats, leading colleges across the country to issue reminders of what students and faculty should do in the case of a threat on their campus.

Police officers at WSU take every bomb threat seriously, and Davies said if students feel there is a suspicious backpack or package on campus to immediately contact police, even if they’re not sure there is actually a threat.

“We’d rather respond to a thousand false alarms than get a call and find out it was the real thing,” Davies said.

Davies said one of the most important things to do in a bomb threat is to remain calm and know what to do to stay safe.

“Immediately get out of the area,” Davies said. “Then call and let us investigate. Don’t touch or jostle the package. . . . Stay away from it and let us come handle it.”

Some bombs can be triggered through radio waves, which is why police will use Code Purple to get the word out about a dangerous situation.

“It’s a great way to get the message out quickly,” Davies said.

The text messages do not have a chance of detonating an explosive, and it is a convenient system for such emergencies.

“I get Code Purple . . . so they’ll send me something telling me to get out,” said Daniel Pittman, a WSU student.

Pittman said he’s not too worried about a bomb on campus.

“There’s a lot more bomb threats than there are bombings,” he said.

He said knowing a system like Code Purple is in place makes him and other students feel safer.

WSU student Ariel Olson said she also has Code Purple. Olson said if she were to receive notification of a possible bomb threat, she’d evacuate and then, “go home and hug my family.”

Code Purple is the campus-wide system to communicate with students through e-mail and text messaging. Many students saw the benefit of this system last year after a large wind storm hit campus, breaking windows and cutting power. Davies said Code Purple is in place for emergencies such as these, and a bomb threat would require the use of Code Purple to help evacuate students safely.

Students can sign up to receive Code Purple notifications on the eWeber portal under the “WSU Code Purple” channel on the eWeber main page.

Although most bomb threats end up being pranks or simply scares, all are to be taken seriously by the police, students, teachers and citizens in the area.

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