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You are here: Home >> Safety & Security >> Transit Security >> Security Initiatives >> Employee Guide to System Security - Bus Operations
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Employee Guide to System Security - Bus Operations
Observe and report people, activities and things that are out-of-place or out of the ordinary.

Look for and report system security weaknesses:
  • Broken fences or doors
  • Malfunctioning locks
  • Inadequate or non-working lighting

Follow practices and procedures:

  • Wear proper uniform with badge or nametag
  • Carry and, if required, display ID
  • Keep appropriate doors, gates and compartments locked

Practice Good Housekeeping:

  • Maintain organized work areas
  • Keep areas clean and clear of debris
  • Conduct periodic inspections and inventories

Conduct Vehicle inspections:

  • Integrate security sweeps into pre- and post-trip inspections

During daily work routines, check garages, stations, depots and terminals for suspicious activity, packages or devices.

Suspicious Activity
Suspicion is based upon:
  • Where someone is
  • When they are there
  • What they are doing

NOT upon race, color, ethnicity or gender


People who are:
  • In an unauthorized or restricted area
  • On agency property without proper ID, uniform or safety gear
  • In the wrong place or appear lost
  • Loitering, staring or watching employees and customers
  • Pacing, nervous or jumpy
  • Acting in a disorderly manner, alarming or disturbing others
  • Quickly exiting an area after abandoning a package
  • Taking photos of equipment and secure areas
  • Carrying a weapon or suspected weapon
  • Expressing an unusual level of interest in operations, equipment, and personnel Unfamiliar couriers, repair personnel, utility crews or other "trusted employees" who are in the wrong place. Cars, trucks, motorcycles and bikes parked or standing in out-of-place or strange locations, overloaded or sagging vehicles.
ONLY approach someone if you are comfortable doing so.

Lend assistance and calmly ask:

  • For an ID card or badge
  • If you can help them
  • Who they are there to see
  • If you can escort them out of the area


  • Approaching threatening or dangerous persons
  • Being aggressive, confrontational, abusive or offensive
  • Detaining or holding a person by any means

Stay alert and observe their location, activity, behavior and physical characteristics. Try to keep them in your sight at all times.

Report any incidents of suspicious behavior or activity through the proper channels. Include the location in which you found them, particularly if it is a secure area that may have been compromised.

If they do leave, note their direction of travel, description of vehicle and license plate. When you observe suspicious activity, observe and report the person's following characteristics:

  • Head - eyes, ears, hair and facial hair, mouth, nose, forehead, cheeks and chin, complexion, jewelry, hat
  • Body - neck, arms, chest, stomach, shirt/blouse/dress, coat, accessories, tattoos
  • Legs - pants, skirt, belt, feet, socks, shoes
  • Overall appearance - height, weight, gender, neat or sloppy, packages, bags or accessories
  • Unique characteristics such as scars, birthmarks or other identifying attributes
Suspicious Packages and Devices
Suspicion is based upon the type and location of the package. NOT all lost and found items are suspicious packages. Usually those items left in conspicuous areas such as on seats, in a restroom, next to a phone booth or vending machine or on a station platform are simply forgotten items.

A package that:
  • Is left or intentionally placed in an out-of-the-way location where it is not readily visible
  • Matches something described in a threat or has a threatening note attached
  • Is an abandoned item or container such as a thermos, propane canister, fire extinguisher or piece of pipe
  • Has visible wires, batteries, a clock or timer, or has bottles, tanks or bags attached
  • Is abandoned by someone quickly leaving the area
  • Includes a bag, box or package emitting an odor, mist or oily liquid
  • Is a bottle filled with unusual colored liquid or has strange objects inside


  • DO NOT use a radio or cell phone if you suspect an explosive device
  • Make notification through appropriate channels - give a description of the package or device and its location
  • DO NOT touch, move or cover the object
  • If there is immediate danger, remain calm and evacuate the area
  • Attempt to isolate and secure the area
  • DO NOT re-enter once you have everyone out
  • Await direction from your supervisor, control center or emergency responders
Suspicious Substances
Suspicion is based upon the presence of a fine powder, residue, fog, mist, oily liquid or odor with no identifiable or explainable source. It is also based upon two or more people showing similar signs of distress or physical reaction. NOT all powders or liquids are suspicious substances. Not every individual sick person is a victim of an attack or release.

  • An unexplainable or pungent odor
  • A suspicious package emitting a vapor or odor
  • Abandoned or out-of-place aerosol or manual spray devices
  • A broken bag, envelope, bottle, light bulb or other potential dissemination device that has residue or a threatening note attached
  • A cloud, mist, fog, fine powder, dust, liquid or oily residue with no explainable source
  • Two or more people experiencing difficulty breathing, uncontrollable coughing, collapse, seizure, nausea, blurred vision or disorientation
  • Small animals such as birds appear to be dead or dying in the area


  • DO NOT touch, move or cover the substance or object
  • Remain calm and evacuate everyone from the affected area
  • Shut down HVAC systems to avoid spreading contamination
  • Avoid contamination by isolating and securing the area
  • Attempt to move people uphill and upwind from the area
  • Report the situation through the proper channels, including your location, number of victims and a description of the substance and/or any symptoms displayed by victims


A substance can only affect you if it enters your body through one of the following routes:
  • Absorption: through the skin or eyes
  • Injection: through broken or punctured skin
  • Ingestion: through the mouth
  • Inhalation: through the mouth or nose
Threat and Incident Response
  1. Life Safety - Protect yourself and others against exposure and injury
  2. Incident Stabilization - Gather information, make notification and await direction
  3. Property Conservation - Protect the environment and assets. (Primarily a role for emergency responders)


  • Remain calm
  • Protect yourself and others - if necessary, evacuate the area
  • Report - gather information and make notification through the proper channels
  • Follow agency protocols and policies
  • Don't take risks that could harm yourself or others
  • Communicate with passengers to keep them informed
  • Be alert to secondary devices
  • Assist passengers to your best ability
  • Enlist the help of other employees and passengers
  • Try to control the crowd - keep people clear of the incident or affected area
  • Maintain communication with the control center and await direction
  • Identify yourself to arriving responders - keep your ID card visible
  • Identify witnesses to police
  • Assist responders as directed
  • DO NOT answer questions from the media or strangers


  • Bring vehicle to a stop in a safe location
  • Shut down the HVAC system if there is a suspicious substance
  • Evacuate the vehicle and secure the area
  • When dealing with suspicious substances - evacuate uphill and upwind
  • When dealing with explosives - evacuate at least 1,850 feet
  • Await assistance and direction
Information Gathering
Accurate, detailed and relevant information regarding location, status, victims, indicators and circumstances will increase the effectiveness and timeliness of the response.


  • Report your exact location
  • Identify type of threat - observation, verbal, or written message
  • Describe suspicious behavior
  • Describe suspicious package or device - size, shape, components (wires, batteries, clocks), color, location, sound, etc
  • Describe suspicious substance - odor, mist, vapor, powder, color, amount, residue, location
  • Suggest safe access routes for responding employees and emergency services personnel
  • Observe and report weather conditions


  • Report your exact location and condition
  • Describe type and number of injuries/victims - note the types of symptoms or behavior
  • Identify location, position and consciousness of victims
  • Describe the presence of suspicious people, packages, devices or substances
  • Report wind direction and weather on scene
  • Report witness statements or observations
  • Collect passenger information - distribute and collect courtesy cards
  • Suggest safe access routes for responding employees and emergency services personnel
  • Immediately notify dispatch, control or your supervisor.
  • In an incident involving explosive devices, avoid using radios or cell phones within three hundred feet of the suspected device.
  • Follow procedures and await direction and/or assistance.
  • Stay calm, communicate clearly and answer questions as they are asked.
  • Verify the accuracy of the information you are reporting and clarify the directions you are being given.
  • Confirm that help is on the way and ask for a time of arrival.
  • If you are unable to contact your supervisor, dispatch or control center, notify local responders through 911.
Interior and Exterior Vehicle Inspection and Area Observations


During pre- and post-trip inspections, layovers or when
your bus has been unattended, look for the following:

  • Scratches or pry-marks made by a tool
  • Unusually clean or dirty areas or compartments
  • Items attached to vehicles with magnets or tape
  • Open or disturbed compartments and cabinets
Image of vehicle inspection areas which are listed below

During inspections, check the following areas for suspicious packages, devices or substances:

1. Floors
2. Below seats
3. Operator's area
4. Steps
5. Wheelchair lifts
6. Equipment compartments
7. Lights
8. Wheel wells
9. Engine compartments
10 . Exhaust system
11 . Fuel and air tanks 10
12 . Frame and underbody


While on your route, look for:

A. Suspicious activity, behavior and people
B. Cars and other vehicles parked in strange places
C. Out-of-place utility or repair crews
D. Unusual or out-of-place delivery trucks
E. People on rooftops or other unusual locations
F. Suspicious packages or devices at bus stops and terminals

This guide is produced through funding and support from the Federal Transit Administration.

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