University Safety and Assurances

Receipt of Suspicious Package

Link to Quick Reference: Emergency Response to Receipt of Suspicious Package


Suspicious Package
  • Evaluate all articles received. Take caution whenever receiving mail or packages of suspicious origin or questionable content.
  • Ask yourself the follow questions when screening articles received:
    • Is the article unexpected or does it appear unfamiliar?

    • Is the address vague or incomplete?
    • Is the return address missing?
    • Does it have unusual weight or texture?
    • Are there restrictive markings such as "for addressee only" or "personal"?
    • Is the article addressed to an individual who no longer works within your department?
  • Do not attempt to touch, open or move any suspicious letter, article or package.
  • If you receive an article, package or letter which you are concerned about immediately put the article down.
  • Do not panic. Biological agents are not easily aerosolized. The mere act of opening an envelope or package containing a suspected agent would generally not provide the energy required to project the agent into your airway or breathing zone.
  • If possible request the assistance of a co-worker or other person in your area to immediately contact the University Police at 9-911 from any hard-wired campus phone or 229-9911 from a cellphone to inform them of the potential for a biological release on campus.
  • If you are alone, phone the police yourself, attempting to limit the number of things you come in contact with. If you have been contaminated, limiting what you touch will limit the spread of the contamination.
  • Wait for the police to arrive. Do not leave the area. Do not allow others who may have been in the area when the article was received or opened to leave until the Police arrive and assess the situation.
  • University Police will isolate the package and initiate all follow-up activities.
  • The Milwaukee Fire Department Hazardous Materials Unit will be called to respond to the incident. Additionally individuals from the Milwaukee Health Department will be called to campus to assist.
  • A controlled evacuation of the building in which the suspected agent was found will probably occur. Evacuated individuals will be instructed to report to a "congregate care" center to provide information to authorities. Follow-up actions will be based on each individuals potential for exposure to the suspected agent.