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Biological Hazard (Haz Mat)

If you encounter any suspicious mail or package (one with handwritten or poorly typed address; oily stains, discoloration or odor; excessive tape or string; protruding wires or aluminum foil) or you encounter a substance you think may be biological in nature:

  • Do not touch, shake, open, move around or allow other staff or individuals to handle the item.
  • Evacuate and isolate the area or room that contains the suspected substance.
  • Immediately notify a supervisor , who will evaluate the situation and call 911 and/or notify the FBI and/or County Health Department. If neither the supervisor nor is present, dial 911 to report the incident.
  • Mark the room or area “DO NOT ENTER.”
  • Contain and isolate any individuals that may have been contaminated.
  • Wear protective gloves, if available; then wet lightly any potentially contaminated area or person. Remove and triple bag any potentially contaminated clothing.
  • Do not eat or drink while handling suspicious mail, package or substance.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water.

It is safest to assume that all blood and bodily fluids contain blood borne pathogens such as HIV and Hepatitis. Avoid contact with bodily fluids, if possible. If contact is unavoidable:

  • Wear protective gloves if available.
  • Wash all exposed skin with soap and water.
  • Flush eyes with water.
  • Do not eat, drink smoke, apply cosmetics or handle contact lenses in the area in which the exposure occurred.
  • Arrange to inspect and decontaminate any equipment or furnishings in the area, before it is reused.


Dealing with biological hazards, such as suspicious packages or substances, requires caution and immediate action to ensure the safety of yourself and others. Here's what to do if you encounter a potential biological hazard:

  1. Do Not Touch or Move: If you come across a suspicious package or substance, do not touch, shake, open, or move it. Additionally, prevent others from handling the item.

  2. Evacuate and Isolate: Clear the area or room containing the suspected substance. Evacuate everyone from the vicinity and isolate the area to prevent further exposure.

  3. Notify a Supervisor: Inform your supervisor immediately about the situation. If your supervisor is not available, dial 911 to report the incident. Your supervisor will evaluate the situation and take appropriate action, which may include contacting emergency services, the FBI, and/or the County Health Department.

  4. Mark the Area: Clearly mark the room or area as "DO NOT ENTER" to prevent accidental exposure.

  5. Contain and Isolate Individuals: If anyone has potentially been contaminated, isolate them from others and provide appropriate medical attention if necessary.

  6. Protective Measures: If available, wear protective gloves before handling any potentially contaminated items or individuals. Lightly wet any potentially contaminated areas or persons, and triple bag any contaminated clothing for disposal.

  7. Avoid Eating or Drinking: Refrain from eating or drinking while dealing with suspicious mail, packages, or substances to avoid accidental ingestion.

  8. Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling any potentially contaminated items or surfaces.

  9. Blood and Bodily Fluids: Treat all blood and bodily fluids as if they contain bloodborne pathogens such as HIV and Hepatitis. Avoid contact if possible, but if contact is unavoidable:

    • Wear protective gloves.
    • Wash exposed skin with soap and water.
    • Flush eyes with water if they come into contact with bodily fluids.
    • Refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics, or handling contact lenses in the exposure area.

  10. Decontamination: Arrange for the inspection and decontamination of any equipment or furnishings in the area before they are reused to prevent further spread of contamination.

Prompt action and adherence to safety protocols are essential when dealing with biological hazards to minimize risks and ensure the well-being of everyone involved.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Emergency Preparedness and Response

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - Hazardous Materials

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - Biological Agents


Campus Safety/Security Applications and Systems