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Suspicious Mail and Packages

In the last decade, there have been a limited number of national incidents involving agents of terror, including anthrax and ricin, being sent through the mail. The University has developed guidance on handling suspicious mail or packages.

How to Prepare:

Any University staff member who handles bulk mail quantities - either from the U.S. Post Office or via campus Mail Services - must attend training on mail handling, which covers procedures for safe mail handling, how to identify a suspicious package or letter, and reporting procedures. Please contact Environmental Health and Safety at 609-258-5294 to schedule a session.

What to Do:

If you receive a suspicious letter or package:

  • Do not try to open the package.  If there is spilled material, do not try to clean it up and do not smell, touch or taste the material.
  • Do not shake or bump the package or letter.
  • Isolate the package from other materials, if possible.
  • Calmly alert others in the immediate area and leave the area, closing the door behind you.
  • Wash hands and exposed skin vigorously with soap and flowing water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Call Department of the Department of Public Safety at 609-258-3333, dial 911 from a campus phone or activate a blue light phone and give them your exact location.
  • Wait for the Departments of Public Safety and Environmental Health and Safety to respond.  Do not leave the building unless instructed to do so by Department of Public Safety personnel.
  • The Departments of Public Safety and Environmental Health and Safety will respond and investigate further.
  • Normal access to the area may be disrupted. It is usually not necessary to evacuate the building. The Departments of Public Safety and Environmental Health and Safety will contact local, state and federal authorities, as appropriate.

Pranks and Hoaxes

University policy states: “Pranks or hoaxes involving false threats of Anthrax exposure or other agents of terror disrupt lives, create serious safety concerns, and tax valuable University and community resources. They create illegitimate alarm in a time of legitimate concern. The University and law enforcement authorities take all such actions very seriously. The University has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy and will aggressively investigate any such incidents. Any individual found responsible for such acts will be subject to University disciplinary action, up to and including separation from the University, and prosecution under State and Federal law.”

For More Information:

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page on Anthrax Facts

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page on Ricin Facts

For more results, please use the Princeton University search page.