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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Bioterrorism: The Laboratory's Role and Response. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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What do I do if I find a suspicious package?

If a package or envelope appears suspicious:

  • Most important - DO NOT OPEN IT and if at all possible, DO NOT TOUCH IT any more than necessary!
  • If powder has spilled, do not clean it up.
  • Leave the area and close any doors, but stay near the area. The reason for this is to lessen the chance of contaminating others and to warn others not to enter the room.
  • Make sure you supervisor and emergency personnel have been notified immediately.
  • As soon as security is in place, wash your hands with soap and water.
  • After evaluation and if so deemed, pre-designated personnel should shut down the air handling system in the building.
  • Make a list of names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all persons who were in the area to share with law enforcement and emergency officials if requested.
  • Follow decontamination procedures as instructed by emergency authorities.