• Emergency Response Guide

    Suspicious Mail – Powdery Substance

    Many facilities in communities around the country have received anthrax threat letters. Most were empty envelopes; some have contained powdery substances. The overwhelming majority have been false alarms. The purpose of these guidelines is to recommend procedures for handling such incidents.

    First, do not panic – while we want to remain vigilant, we should not overreact or panic.

    How to Identify Suspicious Mail
       • No return address
       • Possibly mailed from a foreign country
       • Excessive postage
       • Restrictive markings like “Personal” or “Special Delivery”
       • Misspelled information in the address
       • Addressed to a title, rather than an individual
       • Uneven in shape, rigid or bulky packaging
       • Oily stains, discoloration or crystallization on the packaging
       • Excessive tape or string

    What Employees Should Do
       • Remain calm.
       • Direct someone to call the Triton College Police Department at Ext. 3206.
       • Don’t shake, open, smell or taste the item or any visible residue.
       • Isolate the item and do not try to clean up any spilled powder.
       • Avoid further contact with the mail or package suspected of contamination.
       • Evacuate the immediate area, but have everyone who was in the immediate area stay in a group until police arrive.
       • Try not to touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, chairs, tables, phones, etc.
       • List all people who have touched the letter and/or package.
       • Follow through with recommendations by police, fire and health care officials.
       • Be prepared to surrender personal items, including clothing, until same can be decontaminated.
       • Wash your hands vigorously for five minutes with soap and water.

    For more information about Anthrax, see the Center for Disease Control website at: http://www.cdc.gov/anthrax/