WHAT DO I DO IF I FIND A SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE?
DO NOT PANIC! Biological agents can cause infection in the skin, gastrointestinal system or the lungs. In order for this to occur, the organism must be rubbed into scraped skin, swallowed or inhaled as a fine aerosolized mist. If the patient has been exposed to anthrax spores, the disease can be prevented by early treatment with appropriate antibiotics. Anthrax is not contagious and is not spread from person-to-person. The following is a list of recommended actions:
- Do not shake, open or empty the contents of any suspicious envelope or package. Place the envelope or package in a clear, plastic zip-lock bag, then place it in a second bag. If a zip-lock bag is not available, any clear container may be used provided it is leak-proof. If a container is not available, cover the package with an article of clothing, paper, trash can, etc. Once covered, do not remove the cover.
- Do not bring the item to the fire station, police department or hospital…exposure should be limited.
- Leave the room, close the door and section off or isolate the area where the suspicious package or letter was discovered to prevent others from entering.
- Wash your hands with soap and water and take care not to contaminate your face.
- Report the incident to your local 9-1-1 operator. If you are at work, report the incident to your supervisor and building security.
- Make a list of anyone (including their phone number) who was in the room or area when the suspicious letter or package was discovered. Be prepared to provide the list to police or fire service officers.
- When emergency personnel arrive, you will be asked if you have packaged the item and your actions leading up to the 9-1-1 call. Emergency personnel will direct you to bring the package to them for inspection and they will begin to document the event. The police will take custody of the package. After 90 days the package will be destroyed is there is no investigative need.
- If the item cannot be bagged by the homeowner or business, fire service personnel wearing protective clothing will retrieve the item, and package it and turn it over to law enforcement officials.