HANDLING OF SUSPICIOUS MAIL AND PACKAGES

It is appropriate that people handling / receiving mail remain vigilant and cautious at this time, but it should be remembered that most reports of suspicious packages are false alarms. All staff should be aware of the University emergency procedures for responding to and reporting a suspicious article. If you receive a package or letter that you believe is suspicious, follow the procedures outlined below.

If you suspect that you have received a package that may contain hazardous material and have not opened it:

  • do not panic - you are not in immediate danger
  • place item in a plastic bag and seal it
  • place all items in a second plastic bag and seal that bag
  • stay in your office or immediate work area. This also applies to co-workers in the same room.
  • prevent others from entering the area and potentially becoming contaminated. Remember you are not in immediate danger
  • call for help. This may be your supervisor or to the University emergency extension 13333, depending on your situation. Advise:
    - exact location of incident - campus, department, building, building floor, room number
    - number of people potentially exposed
    - description of the package/device
    - action taken eg, package sealed in bags, area isolated.
  • keep your hands away from your face to avoid contaminating your eyes, nose and mouth
  • if possible (without leaving your work area) wash your hands
  • wait for help to arrive.

If you suspect that you have received a package that may contain hazardous material and have opened it:

  • do not panic - you are not in immediate danger
  • do not disturb the item any further. Do not pass it around. If any material has spilt from the item, do not try to clean it up, or brush it from your clothing
  • if possible, place an object over the package without disturbing it such as a large waste bin
  • stay in your office or immediate work area. This also applies to co-workers in the same room.
  • prevent others from entering the area and potentially becoming contaminated. Remember you are not in immediate danger.
  • Call for help. This may be your supervisor or University emergency extension 13333 depending on your situation. Be Advise:
    - exact location of incident - campus, department, building, building floor, room number
    - number of people potentially exposed
    - description of the package/device
    - action taken eg, package sealed in bags, area isolated
    - whether there is a ventilation system servicing the area.
  • keep your hands away from your face to avoid contaminating your eyes, nose and mouth
  • if possible (without leaving your work area) wash your hands
  • turn off any fans or equipment that is circulating air around your workplace
  • wait for help to arrive.
Facts on anthrax

Anthrax is a disease caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. It cannot be spread from person to person. In humans, anthrax infection may take place through the skin after direct skin contact (cutaneous), or through the inhalation of infective material. Cutaneous anthrax responds well to treatment and is not usually life-threatening. Inhalational anthrax may be life-threatening, but responds to early treatment. Emergency authorities have access to rapid tests to determine anthrax contamination in mail or suspect packages.

These procedures have been prepared based on advice from the Attorney-General's Department.