Section 1. About preparedness
How is the University responding to the anthrax threat?
Every report of a potential threat to public safety is treated
seriously and handled according to law enforcement and health guidelines
established by state and federal authorities. The University is
extremely concerned for the well-being of all members of our community
and all campus visitors and is taking necessary precautions.
Princeton University has a number of safety, medical
and public health professionals with ongoing responsibilities for
the safety and health of the University community. Through contacts
with professional colleagues as well as local, county, state and
federal authorities, these individuals are developing and updating
response efforts on a daily basis to reflect the latest available
Recently, an Emergency
Preparedness Task Force was established by the University's
Safety and Risk Management Committee. Among the clear mandates
of this group will be to review and update existing emergency preparedness
and response procedures, ensure coordination of efforts among the
various University departments and, where appropriate, develop additional
capabilities in light of the ongoing national crisis.
How is information about safety concerns distributed?
Important safety alerts are posted directly on the University's
home page, which should be checked frequently. Other useful
updates, information and Web links are posted on the Crisis
Response page, which can be accessed directly from the home
How will I be notified if there is an emergency?
In the event of a campuswide emergency, the University will distribute
instructions by whichever means of mass communication seem most
appropriate. Those means include: the home page; e-mail; voice mail;
leaflets and posters; radio and cable broadcasts; and in-person
instructions from University officials.
What should I do if an emergency arises and I am among the first
Call 911 for an immediate response from Public
Safety. If you are not near a phone, exit the building and find
the nearest campus
blue light phone.
If you are not experiencing an emergency
but are worried about a perceived threat or rumor, please first
check the Web for information. If you do not have Web access, call
Is there anything I can do to better prepare myself for an emergency?
Be aware of your surroundings. Know the locations of the closest
building exits and University telephones including the blue light
phones located throughout campus. Establish a routine of checking
the University home page at least once per day. Familiarize yourself
with procedures on the Campus
Emergency Preparedness and Response Web site including the emergency
evacuation plan for your building.
In the unlikely event of temporary displacement,
on-campus residents should consider keeping a "personal safety bag"
that includes ready cash, a list of key phone numbers, bottled water,
non-perishable snacks, a flashlight with fresh batteries and a warm
jacket or small blanket.
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Section 2. About the Oct. 22
"anthrax scare" at Frist
The results are in -- no anthrax at Frist
The University was notified Oct. 29 by state officials that the
final test results of the powdery substance found in Frist Campus
Center Oct. 22 are negative, which means no anthrax was detected.
On Monday, Oct. 22, a student noticed a suspicious powdery substance
on a computer and its keyboard. The University took precautionary
measures, including calling a HAZMAT team that decontaminated the
area and sent the substance to the state for testing.
Why didn't the University test everyone who may have been in Frist
The University follows New Jersey and federal guidelines regarding
anthrax testing of substances, surfaces and people. The University
does not have independent means of conducting such tests. External
authorities are responding to emergencies on a priority basis and
will not conduct such tests unless a credible anthrax threat has
What does it take to qualify as a credible anthrax threat?
The University will not publicly issue law enforcement guidelines
or other information that, if released, could threaten the security
of the campus. Currently, the University asks those on campus to
remain cautious regarding suspicious
letters and packages. As usual, any suspicious activity on campus
should be reported to Public Safety at 258-3134.
What will the University do if anthrax is found on campus?
State and federal authorities will intercede immediately if anthrax
is found on campus. A notification system to initiate their involvement
is already in place. If such an event were to occur, the campus
community would be promptly notified. If there is a high likelihood
that someone has contracted anthrax, treatment
can be initiated at McCosh
Health Center. The Princeton Medical
Center can also test and treat for anthrax.
The University will work hard to notify parents and other concerned
parties promptly. Parents and others are encouraged to check the
University home page
for alerts and the Crisis
Response site for other useful information.
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Section 3. About anthrax
The federal Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention has issued frequently
asked questions about anthrax. The following questions are particularly
pertinent to campus members.
I just received mail from Princeton University and I am afraid it
passed through a post office that has tested positive for anthrax.
What should I do?
The University sends many bulk mailings that are not mailed through
local post offices. Most bulk mail sent by the Alumni Council is
mailed from New York. Most bulk mail sent by the offices of annual
giving, development or the president is mailed from Connecticut.
Recently, the undergraduate admission office began rerouting mail
out of local post offices through other New Jersey facilities.
Some mail has been processed through the Princeton
post office in West Windsor that was closed due to positive
tests for a small quantity of anthrax. Federal and state
officials emphasize that there is very low likelihood of cross contamination,
such as one letter picking up anthrax simply from having touched
or being located near another letter or item that contained anthrax.
If you are concerned about receiving mail from
the University, you should follow the anthrax threat guidelines
for handling mail. If you open any mail that contains a suspicious
powder substance, you should follow the guidelines
and immediately notify proper authorities.
Is it true that the FBI has been on site and is investigating whether
anthrax can be manufactured on campus?
FBI officials have been on campus several times since Sept. 11
to ascertain what our safety procedures are and to inform our safety
officials of the latest developments in the national crisis. The
University has not been targeted, as the FBI has taken similar precautionary
measures with other institutions of higher education and other high-profile
institutions in the state. The University does not have any research
or programs involving anthrax.
Since Princeton is so close to the Hamilton and West Windsor post
offices where anthrax was detected, do I need to take special precautions
when handling mail?
The University's mail personnel have been trained on how to detect
and handle suspicious letters and packages. Similar training has
been given to other offices that routinely receive large quantities
The University community should remain alert to suspicious mail
but should be most cautious when receiving direct mail, packages
and deliveries. Guidelines
are posted on the Campus
Emergency Preparedness and Response Web site.
What do I do first if I open mail and a powder-like substance emerges?
If you receive a suspicious package or envelope, please call Public
Safety at 911 or 8-3134. Do not worry about burdening the Public
Safety department. It is prepared to handle increased requests.
If you receive a suspicious
item in the mail, follow the steps below:
- Do NOT shake, bump or try to OPEN the mail.
- If there is spilled powder, do not try to clean it up. Do not
smell, touch or taste the material.
- Either leave the mail where you found it, or carefully place
it in a clear, sealable plastic bag, such as a freezer-sized,
zip-lock bag. Do not attempt to open the mail inside the bag.
- If you are wearing protective gloves, remove them and place
them in a sealable plastic bag.
- Calmly alert others in the immediate area. Leave the area,
closing the door behind you. Do not let anyone other than safety
officials enter the area.
- Wash your hands and exposed skin vigorously with soap and flowing
water for at least 20 seconds. Antibacterial lotions that do not
require water are not effective for removing anthrax
- Call Public Safety at 911 or 8-3134 and give them your exact
- Wait for Public Safety to respond. Do not leave the building
unless instructed to do so by Public Safety personnel.
Do I need to wear gloves when opening mail?
When opening suspicious mail, open it far from your face. Wear
latex or vinyl gloves if you have open cuts or sores on your hands.
If you do not know whether you are allergic to latex, avoid latex
gloves. Some gloves are pre-powdered, so do not be alarmed by a
powder residue when you remove the gloves. University bulk mail
handlers must attend training
Is the University concerned that those who are responsible for the
nearby anthrax cases may be in the vicinity?
The welfare of our community and our extended campus family is
always of deep concern to the University. The presence of anthrax
at the Hamilton and West Windsor facilities, however, does not prove
that the perpetrators are or remain nearby. In fact, mail collected
from more distant locations in the state is processed through these
local postal facilities.
What can I do to help minimize fears?
There are common sense steps that members of the University community
can take to help minimize anxiety and reduce false alarms. If you
use a powder or sugar-like substance, please pay attention and clean
up spills rather than leaving them for others to discover. When
mailing letters, even interoffice, make sure they have a standard
Try to confirm information and the source of rumors. Do not circulate
inaccurate information. Please use and refer others to official
information such as that from University and government authorities,
rather than e-mail chains or unreliable news organizations.
Finally, if you need to talk to someone at the University about
your fears or concerns, a list of University
response resources is available on the Crisis Response Web site
or call the Response line at 609-258-7700.
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