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UK ISSUES
LETTER AND PACKAGE
SAFETY GUIDELINES

By Mary Margaret Colliver

 

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To access a federal Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Web site on suspicious packages, click here.

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Oct. 10, 2001 (Lexington, Ky.) -- As a precautionary measure, the University of Kentucky has released to all its employees the following letter and package guidelines:

Due to the recent incidents in Kentucky involving letters and/or packages containing an unknown substance, the University of Kentucky Police, in conjunction with the FBI and Lexington Division of Police, have issued the following cautions and instructions for anyone receiving or coming into contact with any suspicious letter or package:

RELAX AND REMAIN CALM

Although any threatened use of a biological agent must be treated as though it is real, experience has demonstrated that these threats are likely to be a HOAX.

If the suspected biological agent is reported as anthrax, be assured it is NOT generally contagious from person to person, and that treatment is available and effective if administered before the onset of symptoms.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

1. If you receive any letter or package with NO return address, you should use caution.

2. If it is a letter that you have opened, set it down gently at the location where you first read it. Any item deemed suspicious should be double or triple bagged in any garbage, sealable plastic bag, or other type bag (whatever is on hand). Use paper if plastic isn't available. Then move to an area that will minimize your exposure to others. If possible, wash your hands with soap and water. Avoid unnecessary contact with others, and remain in the area. Public Safety and Health responders will come to you.

3. Persons finding suspicious mail should contact their local law enforcement agency to take control of the item or advise a coworker in the immediate area what has happened and ask him/her to call the appropriate law enforcement agency.

4. If possible, close doors and windows in the area of the letter/note, shut down the building's ventilation system, and turn off any fans in the area.

5. Do not allow others into the area. If anyone enters, he/she should stay until instructed to leave by Public Safety or Health responders.

6. Remain calm. Exposure does not mean that you will become sick. Public Health responders will provide specific information and instructions about the symptoms and effective treatment to prevent illness.

WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO

1. Do not pass the letter or note to others to look at.

2. Do not disturb any contents in the letter or note. Handling the letter may only spread the substance inside and increase the chances of it getting into the air.

3. Do not ignore the threat. It must be treated as real until properly evaluated.

The FBI stated that thus far, there has been no indication of biological substances found in envelopes or packages.

Preliminary testing conducted at the UK microbiology laboratory on a substance received yesterday did not reveal any biological agent.

University of Kentucky faculty, students or staff finding any suspicious letter or package should contact the University Police Department at 257-1616 if you are on campus.

If you are off campus and within Fayette County, call the Lexington Division of Police at 258-3600, the Urban County Division of Environmental and Emergency Management (DEEM) at 258-3784 until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or the Urban County Division of Fire and Emergency Services Hazardous Materials Response Team at 254-1120.

If you are in an area outside of Lexington and receive a suspicious package or letter, please call your local enforcement agency.


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