Oh, You Wouldn't Believe The Mail I Get


People waste so much money sending me publications at work which have nothing to do with what I cover. In my mailbox is the latest copy of CSO Magazine (which I guess stands for Chief Security Officer). The cover story: "How to Handle a Bomb Threat".

Now, I'm thinking, why me? Why would you kill a tree and pay the postage to send me this magazine?

But then I wondered, how DO you handle a bomb threat? The article outlines five steps:

1-"Have a comprehensive bomb threat response plan in place," which includes a "checklist of questions and observations" for contacting authorities, searching the building, an evacuation routes. You're supposed to drill twice a year so everyone knows how to react.

Let me just say this. You could drill every day, and when a real bomb threat comes in, chances are the training goes out the window. We have an earthquake coverage plan here at work--who's supposed to go where, what we're supposed to do, etc, when there's an earthquake. I'll bet a California subprime mortgage we won't follow any of it when the ground starts shaking.

2-"Educate call takers and provide a checklist."

Call takers? This takes me back to Fake Jane's "English Only Initiative"--as in, speak English, not consultant-speak. I assume "call takers" ARE PEOPLE WHO ANSWER THE PHONE. So say that. "Provide a checklist to people who answer the phone."

Now, where did I put that checklist they gave me six months ago because NOW I HAVE A BOMB THREAT ON THE PHONE.

3-"Determine the credibility of the threat." If someone gives a specific location or seems to know your building, it may be credible. On the other hand, if you ask, "Where is the bomb?" and the caller names an area your building doesn't even have, it may be hoax.

4-"Decide whether to evacuate." The article says that's a hard call to make when you're running a hospital or a shopping mall.

Except the article doesn't really tell you when to evacuate.

5-"Provide calm, direct assistance during the evacuation." You don't say?

Here's my favorite part. The article suggests large companies in rural areas invest...in a bomb dog. "Pay and have police take care of it." Oh. Maybe I'll just move on to the other magazine in my mailbox, "Reason," which has an article called "Big Box Panic Attacks."

Bomb threats, panic attacks. Man, I need a drink.

After my blog Tuesday on how Time Warner Cable surprised mewith decent customer service, Tien V. writes that, alas, his experience is not surprising:

"(My internet access service) always goes down when the outside temperature is below freezing. It has been happening for the past two years, and every time I call, they arrange for the tech to come out...during the daytime when the temperature rises above freezing. Of course, the modem is working! They told me they cannot fix it if it is not down!...Last winter I put a plastic cover above the main cable box in my backyard and put a light underneath it to keep it warm. It worked all winter long. But some Time Warner schmuck took it off and wrote on top of the box 'do not cover this box."

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