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Handling Unknown Packages

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  • Because of concerns about public safety in light of the 9/11 national emergency, the Public Safety Department is disseminating information to lessen the fears of the University Community. The information provided with this communication is to assure you that precautionary actions are being taken. The best defense against an emergency situation is education. Please read the materials provided. If you have any questions please contact the Public Safety Office at 201-200-3127.

    The Following recommendations are taken from the FBI Advisory and the US Postal Inspectors Offices:

    What constitutes a "suspicious" parcel?

    Some typical characteristics Postal Inspectors have detected over the years, which ought to trigger suspicion, include parcels that:

    • are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you.
    • are addressed to someone no longer with your organization or are otherwise outdated.
    • have no return address, or have one that can't be verified as legitimate.
    • are of unusual weight, given their size, or are lopsided or oddly shaped.
    • are marked with restrictive endorsements, such as "Personal" or "Confidential."
    • have protruding wires, strange odors or stains.
    • show a city or state in the postmark that doesn't match the return address.

    What should I do if I've received a suspicious parcel in the mail?

    • Do not try to open the parcel!
    • Isolate the parcel.
    • Evacuate the immediate area.
    • Call a Public Safety Department, Extension 3128 to report that you've received a parcel in the mail that may contain biological or chemical substances.

    What Should I do if I Receive an Anthrax Threat by Mail?

    • Do not handle the mail piece or package suspected of contamination.
    • Notify your supervisor, who will immediately contact the Public Safety Department. The Public Safety Department will contact the local police.
    • Make sure that damaged or suspicious packages are isolated and the immediate area cordoned off.
    • Ensure that all persons who have touched the mail piece wash their hands with soap and water.
    • The Inspectors will collect the mail, assess the threat situation and coordinate with the FBI.
    • Designated officials will notify local, county, and state health departments.
    • Designated officials will notify the state emergency manager.
    • List all persons who have touched the letter and/or envelope. Include contact information. Provide the list to the Inspection Service.
    • Place all items worn when in contact with the suspected mail piece in plastic bags and keep them wherever you change your clothes and have them available for law enforcement agents.
    • As soon as practical, shower with soap and water.

    What are signs and symptoms of the disease?

    Anthrax is a disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bacillus anthraces.

    The disease takes three distinct forms depending on how the germ enters the body: cutaneous (through a cut or scrape on the skin), inhalation (breathed in) and gastrointestinal (eaten). All forms of anthrax are quite rare in the U.S. But when one does occur, symptoms usually show up a day to a week after exposure. Here is a list of what these symptoms look like:

    Cutaneous: Starts out with a bump like a mosquito bite, usually on the hand, but within a few days, it turns into a painless, open sore with a tell-tale black center of dead tissue.

    Inhalation: At first, it feels like the common cold, but it can rapidly progress to severe pneumonia with difficulty breathing and shock. This form is usually fatal without treatment, but it is not contagious.

    Gastrointestinal: Begins with loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and fever, and it progresses to vomiting of blood and severe diarrhea.

    Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact the Public Safety Office.


    For more information, please email: publicsafety@njcu.edu or call 201-200-3127 / 3128.