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Emergency Guide

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If You Receive a Suspicious Letter

  1. If you have opened the letter, set it down gently where you first read it. Leave it alone, remain calm and avoid any sudden movements.
  2. Inform a co-worker in the immediate area about the situation and ask them to call Security.
  3. Move to an area where you can avoid contact with others and stay there.
  4. Remain calm! Exposure does not mean that you will become sick. Security Services will ensure you receive specifics information about symptoms and effective treatment.
  5. If you are in an area where packages are received and opened routinely, have a specific plan for identifying and responding to a suspicious package and exercise that plan on a routine basis.

If a Co-worker Receives a Suspicious Letter

  1. Turn off any fans in the area; Security will arrange to have the building's ventilation system shut down.
  2. Instruct personnel involved to move slowly to the perimeter of the room, but do not permit anyone to leave. Do not allow others into the area. If anyone enters, they will have to remain until emergency responders instruct them to leave.
  3. Do not disturb any contents in the letter or package. Handling may increase the potential for exposure.
  4. Do not give others the letter or package to inspect. 

If You Notice a Suspicious Package

  1. Do not handle the package.
  2. Call Security.
  3. Wait for instructions.

Common Features of Suspicious Letters

  • No return address; postmark or name of sender is usual.
  • Excessive or inadequate postage.
  • Handwritten or poorly typed address.
  • Misspelling of common words.
  • Restrictive markings such as "Confidential", "Personal", etc.
  • Excessive weight and/or a feeling of a powdery substance.
  • The letter is lopsided or unusually thick.
  • Rub-on black lettering.
  • Threat of any type of contamination.

Although threats using biological agents must be taken seriously, more likely than not they are hoaxes. If a biological agent is anthrax, it is not contagious and can be readily treated before the onset of symptoms.