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Anyone handling mail and packages should be alert to suspicious-looking items, and should regularly, reasonably and prudently examine those materials before opening them. Indicators or characteristics that should cause the materials to be treated as suspect, especially if the materials are not expected, include, but are not limited to:

  • Letters and packages delivered by someone other than regular carriers
  • Packages wrapped in string (modern packaging materials have eliminated the need for twine and string)
  • Excess use of securing material, i.e., tape
  • Packages that are lopsided, heavy sided, or have lumps, bulges, or protrusions
  • No postage, non-canceled postage or excessive postage;
  • Handwritten notes
  • Packages or letters that have no return addresses or nonsensical return addresses
  • Letters or packages arriving before or after phone calls asking if the items were received
  • Unusual sounds coming from the item, such as sloshing or ticking

If you believe a letter or package is suspicious, follow these instructions:

  • Stay calm—do not panic
  • Do not move or handle a suspicious package
  • Call the UB Police Department at 410.837.4444 or 911 immediately
  • If there is reason to suspect that a package may contain an explosive device based on any of the characteristics described above, do not handle the package

If the suspicious letter or package is marked with a threatening message or if a suspicious powder or substance spills out of a package or envelope, follow these guidelines:

  • Do not clean up a suspicious powder, liquid or residue
    Turn off local fans or ventilation units in the area if you suspect that a device has been activated and the fan/ventilation switches are quickly and easily accessible
    Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering
  • Call for help and keep others away from the area
    Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any substance 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 clothing bag to emergency responders
  • Shower with soap and water—do not use bleach or other disinfectant—as soon as possible if contaminated
  • List all people who were in the area when the suspicious package was recognized, and provide this list to the UB Police Department for follow-up investigations and to ensure everyone involved can receive advice from local public health authorities and outside law enforcement officials

If a suspicious letter or package is found on or near the UB campus, emergency responders will assess the situation. Your sole responsibility is to provide them with any information that may assist in their investigation. 

Additional Resources:

Last Published 9/19/16