Emergency Response Actions


Suspicious Package / Mail


The likelihood of receiving a package or letter containing a suspicious substance or device is remote.  However, it is important that all remain vigilant in taking precautions against this potential threat.  Characteristics of suspicious packages and letters include:

  •      Excessive postage
  •      Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  •      Incorrect titles
  •      Title, but no name
  •      Misspellings of common words
  •      Oily stains, discolorations or odor
  •      No return address
  •      Excessive weight
  •      Lopsided or uneven envelope
  •      Protruding wires or aluminum foil
  •      Ticking sound
  •      Excessive security material such as masking tape, string, etc.
  •      Marked with restrictive endorsements, such as “Personal” or “Confidential”
  •      Shows a city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address

Actions to Take Once a Potential Suspicious Package is Identified:     

  • Do not move or handle a suspicious package.  Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering.
  • Call University Police at 568-8999 immediately.
  • If the suspicious letter or package is marked with a threatening message (such as “anthrax”) or if a  suspicious powder or substance spills out of a package or envelope, follow these guidelines:                
    • DO NOT CLEAN up a suspicious powder.              
    • WASH your hands with soap/water to prevent spreading any powder to your face.
    • REMOVE heavily contaminated clothing as soon as possible and place in a plastic bag or some other container that can be sealed.  Give the clothing bag to the emergency responders.
    • SHOWER with soap as soon as possible if contaminated.  Do not use bleach or other disinfectant on your skin.
    • LIST all people who were in the area when the suspicious package was recognized.
    • PROVIDE this list of people to the University Police for follow-up investigations and to ensure everyone involved can receive advice from local public health authorities and outside law enforcement officials.

University Police are the first responders who will assess the situation and contact the New Orleans Police Department's Special Operations Division's Hazardous Materials Unit to respond if required.   University Police will also contact Facility Services who will turn off local fans or ventilation units in the area to reduce the potential spread of contaminants.