Office of Emergency Management highlights suspicious package protocol

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There have been recent suspicious package incidents in Connecticut so students at the University of Connecticut have been told to look. (Eric Wang/The Daily Campus)

There have been recent suspicious package incidents in Connecticut so students at the University of Connecticut have been told to look. (Eric Wang/The Daily Campus)

Due to recent suspicious package/white powder incidents throughout the state and country, the University of Connecticut Office of Emergency Management is reminding students to look out for suspicious packages and envelopes on UConn campuses.

“There were some recent suspicious package incidents in Connecticut as well as at other locations in the U.S.,” OEM Director William Shea said. “We saw this as a good opportunity with the start of a new academic year to remind students, staff and faculty of the procedures and protocol for a suspicious package, as well as highlighting the information for new incoming students.”

A suspicious object may come in the form of a package or envelope, according to the OEM website. Potential suspicious packages or envelopes are those that are rigid or bulky or have excessive tape/string and those with suspicious leaks, stains or powdered substances on them.

Packages or envelopes with poor handwriting, misspells or improper addresses are also cause for concern, the website said, along with those that have excessive postage, no postage or a strange or no return address.

If one finds a suspicious package or envelope, one should not touch, move or alter the object and should leave the immediate area and call 911, according to the website.

If one comes in contact with a suspicious package or envelope, he or she needs to thoroughly wash his or her hands with warm soap and water and ask another person to call 911 if possible, the website says.

“If you are already handling a suspicious package, gently put it down in a secluded area and step away,” the website says. “Always notify emergency personnel about your possible exposure. If a hazardous material is found in the package, emergency personnel will only be able to treat you if they are made aware.”

There have not been any suspicious packages reported at any UConn campus or associated with UConn, but there have been some recently in Connecticut and the United States, Shea said.

A state police bomb squad and other authorities were called to an Old Saybrook building after a series of white powder packages and threatening communications were reported in early September, according to the Hartford Courant. No one has been injured or gotten ill from the packages thus far.

It is alleged that many of the suspicious packages were mailed by an individual who has been in federal custody since his arrest for alleged violations of his supervised release on Sept. 5, U.S. Attorney John Durham said in a statement.

“Through the course of the investigation, investigators have seized unmailed letters, notified numerous potential recipients of letters and successfully removed some letters from the mail stream prior to their delivery,” Durham said. “However, letters continue to arrive in various locations.”

In light of the Old Saybrook incident and other similar incidents, the OEM wanted to re-engage with students, faculty and staff and make them aware of the policies and procedures that UConn already has in place, Shea said.


Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gabriella.debenedictis@uconn.edu.

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