In our blog series, we try to explain the importance of working with your first responders. However, in this case, it is imperative that you partner with them to understand what they recommend you do when confronted with a possible SWATTING incident; the topic of this blog. It will be necessary to bring them all together (law enforcement, fire, and EMS) so everyone knows exactly what is expected of them during these events. Since these can happen at any time, you should be on the phone with them now, before you read any further so you can get the process started, then of course we want you to come back and finish reading this blog so you have a better understanding of what you are up against and why these are the next big National Threat to our schools and communities. Now let’s talk a little more about what they are.
We have talked extensively about Prevention/Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. These are the FEMA guidelines for emergency readiness. Within this process, almost every state mandates that schools prepare an All-Hazards approach to their school safety plans. With this in mind, we have to look at those risks and hazards that we are most likely to face, then make plans to Prevent/Mitigate them, Prepare for them, Respond to them, and Recover from the effects of them. Enter our newest and latest threat to the safety of our schools and communities: SWATTING. You may be asking yourselves, or wanting to ask me how a false alarm can be a threat to our safety, rather than being just a huge disruption to our day. We’ll get into that soon, but first, let’s define what SWATTING is:
Swatting is a criminal harassment tactic of deceiving an emergency service (via such means as hoaxing an emergency services dispatcher) into sending a police or emergency service response team to another person's address. This is triggered by false reporting of a serious law enforcement emergency, such as a bomb threat, murder, hostage situation, or a false report of a mental health emergency, such as reporting that a person is allegedly suicidal or homicidal and may or may not be armed, among other things. (Wikipedia)
These incidents can be initiated at a single location, or like we saw on April 12, 2023, in the State of Illinois, they can be sent throughout the state. So why are these incidents considered threats? There are several reasons:
So what can we do? Just like we all have plans to address “Bomb Threats”, we should have plans to address these situations. As you are planning for these events, understand they may manifest themselves in several different ways:
Here are some of the steps I would encourage everyone to explore:
Ultimately, these are situations that require everyone to be on the same plan and everyone needs to understand their roles and responsibilities during these hoax events. Sad to say, you are more likely to have something like this happen at your school. Knowing what to do in both situations has now become a necessity.
Click here to learn more about how CrisisGo can assist you in responding to SWATTING incidents and take a step towards better preparedness.