American Innovations, Inc.
Bomb Threats & Physical Security Planning

#11 - Room Searching Sweeps

First Room Searching Sweep
Look at the furniture or objects in the room and determine the average height of the majority of items resting on the floor. In an average room, this height usually includes table or desk tops and chair backs. The first searching height usually covers the items in the room up to hip height.

After the room has been divided and a searching height has been selected, both individuals go to one end of the room division line and start from a back-to-back position. This is the starting point, and the same point will be used on each successive searching sweep. Each person now starts searching his/her way around the room, working toward the other person, checking all items resting on the floor around the wall area of the room. When the two individuals meet, they will have completed a "wall sweep." They should then work together and check all items in the middle of the room up to the selected hip height, including the floor under the rugs. This first searching sweep should also include those items which may be mounted on or in the walls, such as air-conditioning ducts, baseboard heaters, and built-in wall cupboards, if these fixtures are below hip height.

The first searching sweep usually consumes the most time and effort. During all the searching sweeps, use the electronic or medical stethoscope on walls, furniture items, and floors.

Second Room Searching Sweep
The individual in charge again looks at the furniture or objects in the room and determines the height of the second searching sweep. This height is usually from the hip to the chin or top of the head. The two persons return to the starting point and repeat the searching technique at the second selected searching height. This sweep usually covers pictures hanging on the walls, built bookcases, and tall table lamps.

Third Room Searching Sweep
When the second searching sweep is completed, the person in charge again determines the next searching height, usually from the chin or the top of the head up to the ceiling. The third sweep is then made. This sweep usually covers high mounted air-conditioning ducts and hanging light fixtures.

Fourth Room Searching Sweep
If the room has a false or suspended ceiling, the fourth sweep involves investigation of this area. Check flush or ceiling-mounted light fixtures, air conditioning or ventilation ducts, sound or speaker systems, electrical wiring, and structural frame members.

Have a sign or marker indicating "Search Completed" conspicuously posted in the area. Place a piece of colored Scotch tape across the door and door jamb approximately 2 feet above floor level if the use of signs is not practical.

The room searching technique can be expanded. The same basic technique can be applied to search any enclosed area. Encourage the use of common sense or logic in searching. If a guest speaker at a convention has been threatened, common sense would indicate searching the speakers platform and microphones first, but always return to the searching technique. Do not rely on random or spot checking of only logical target areas. The bomber may not be a logical person.

In conclusion, the following steps should be taken in order to search a room:

1. Divide the area and select a search height.
2. Start from the bottom and work up.
3. Start back-to-back and work toward each other.
4. Go around the walls and proceed toward the center of the room.

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American Innovations, Inc.
383 West Route 59
Spring Valley, NY 10977

(845) 371-3333