The following guidelines have been developed by the Governor's Office of Employee Relations and the New York State Department of Health regarding safe mail handling procedures.
- Every unit of the college should assess and review their protocols for handling mail. Common sense and care should be used in inspecting and opening mail or packages.
- Examine unopened envelopes for foreign bodies or powder.
- Do not open letters with your hands; use a letter opener.
- Open letters and packages with a minimum of movement to avoid spilling any contents.
What Types of Letters May be Suspect
- Any letter or package that has suspicious or threatening messages written on it.
- Letters with oily stains.
- Envelopes that are lopsided, rigid, bulky, discolored or have a strange odor.
- Envelopes with no return address.
- Unexpected envelopes from foreign countries.
- No postage or non-cancelled postage.
- Improper spelling of common names, places or titles.
For Suspect Envelopes
- DO NOT OPEN THE ENVELOPE OR PACKAGE.
- LEAVE it and EVACUATE the room.
- KEEP others from entering
- CALL 911 or University Police at 4700.
For Packages That Are Opened and Which Contain Suspicious Material
- Anthrax organisms can cause skin infection, gastrointestinal infection or pulmonary infection. To do so, the organism must be rubbed into abraded skin, swallowed, or inhaled as a fine aerosolized mist. It does not leap into one's body. All forms of disease are generally treatable with antibiotics.
- Anthrax cannot be easily aerosolized out of an envelope or package containing powder. The same facts and conditions are generally true for other bacteria likely to be considered as biological weapons.
Contain the Exposure
- Close off the room (doors and windows), do not allow anyone other than qualified emergency personnel to enter.
- Close the package or envelope to limit additional exposure. Do not clean the powder up; keep others away.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or any other part of your body.
- If possible, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- If clothing is heavily contaminated, don't brush vigorously.
- Make a list of all people who had contact with the powder for investigating authorities.
In the event of suspected exposure, notify University Police by calling 911 or 4700 and Vince Olechnowicz, Environmental Health and Safety Officer at 4014.
For more information, contact the New York State Health Department, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control at 518.473.1730 (day) or 518.465.9720 (after hours).