Terrorism is ôthe unlawful act of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectivesö [28CFR0.85(l)].  What makes terrorist acts so dangerous is that they are systematic, unpredictable and indiscriminate criminal acts intended to cause damage, to inflict harm, and to kill.  The purpose is to achieve maximum disruption of normal activity and to create extreme anxiety and paralyze the target population.  Its success depends upon the fear it creates.

The nature of hazards resulting from terrorist attacks or other off-campus disasters range from chemical, biological, nuclear/radiological and/or explosive. The initial detection of a terrorist attack will likely occur through responses to 911 calls where unusual multiple injuries and deaths have occurred or unusual symptoms have been noticed. In the case of  chemical attacks, general indicators of a terrorist attack include unexplained casualties and an unusual liquid, spay or vapor.   In the case of a biological attack, hospitals and health centers may notice an unusual illness and a definite pattern inconsistent with natural disease.  If the Student Health Center notices any such illnesses and inconsistent patterns they will report them immediately to local health authorities.

It is important to recognize that terrorism is a criminal act and effort should be made to coordinate with law enforcement agencies to preserve physical evidence where feasible without compromising medical care to the victims.

1.  Preparation

Given the open environment of academic institutions it would be easy for a terrorist to access most of these facilities. Obvious targets include public gathering points (stadium, auditorium, etc.), laboratories, and food service.  Although the probability of a terrorist event is very low, the consequences are high.  It is not possible to plan for every contingency; however,  the following are considered reasonable steps to reduce the opportunities for a terrorist.

a.      Enhance awareness of daily environments, i.e., normal activities, mail, packages, persons, vehicles, etc. Anything unusual or ôout of the ordinaryö should be considered in the context of a potential terrorist event and promptly reported to the University Police. 

b.      Monitor activities and groups that might indicate a potential terrorist event. Examples include:

     Groups fostering anti-University, anti-government, or anti-U.S. agitation, intimidation, etc.

     Meetings, rallies, and demonstrations being organized; inflammatory speeches and charges; provocation of authorities to intervene or overreact.

     Dissent for political, social, or ethnic reasons.

     New spokespersons for animal, or environmental causes emerging or out-of-town organizers arriving.

c.      Control access to laboratories and other areas that could pose likely targets. Lock doors when laboratory personnel are not present.

d.      Perform background checks of employees and students working with materials or in areas that might pose targets.

e.      Monitor and report any unusual cases of upper respiratory disease, rash, or other unusual symptoms.

f.        Design new facilities and workspaces with focus on safety and security.

2.  Response Activities

If a terrorist event or other off-campus disaster that would have direct or significant indirect impacts on the campus should occur, the Emergency Operations Team will assemble immediately at the Emergency Operations Center to determine what role the University should play in the response activities.  It is likely that major assistance from Federal, State and City agencies will be necessary to respond to a major event.  However, using the same basic procedures and leadership structure that has been identified for responding to other types of emergencies will help to assure that the safety and health of the University community is given a high priority.  The EOT will play an important role in making certain that the Universityĺs needs are well understood by those agencies and organizations involved with emergency response activities.  In the case of a major event that does not directly impact the University, the Chancellor will decide if the EOT should be assembled to help to determine if any special University actions are necessary.  

In some types of terrorist attacks there could be a significant number of casualties and/or damage to university buildings or infrastructure.  This could lead to the need to consider the temporary closure of the University or major changes in University operations.  If such circumstances should occur, the Chancellor will convene an emergency meeting with the System President and the Board of Supervisors to receive their advice and direction regarding University operations and facilities.

What individuals should do in case of a known or potential terrorist attack:

a.    Notify the Office of Security and Safety if you notice any suspicious activities that might indicate a potential terrorist attack. These could include a rental truck parked in an unusual location where many students congregate, an unusual object or package that you suspect could be a bomb, unusual odors or powders, or even sticky substances that appear to have been applied to doorknobs or computer keyboards.

b.    Notify the Health Center if you are ill, especially if you notice that others have similar symptoms.  Remember that illness such as smallpox and anthrax initially result in flu-like symptoms that you might typically ignore.  Cures are likely if treated early, but many deaths could occur if symptoms are ignored.  Donĺt try to self-medicate with antibiotics that you or your friends might have available.  The National Center for Disease Control can provide vaccines and antibiotics for most types of biological agents within only a few hours, once they are notified of a problem by local health and disease control agencies.

c.     Keep yourself informed of opportunities to receive inoculations to protect yourself from bacteria and viruses that could be spread by terrorists.  If in doubt, contact the Health Center or your family physician.

d.    Obey all instructions if quarantine is determined by University or local health officials to be necessary.  You may feel fine, but if you leave the campus while infected, your disease can easily be spread to others who have not previously been exposed, including members of your family.

e.    Be wary of mail sent to you by an unknown person, especially if the envelope or package appears to contain any sort of powder, stain or unusual odor.  If you do open mail that contains an unusual substance, leave your room immediately, tell others in or near your room to evacuate the building, and contact the University Police.  Do not return to your room until you have been notified that it is safe to do so.  Seek medical help immediately for evaluation to determine if you have been exposed to an infectious disease or chemical agent.

f.      Check your e-mails and the University webpage for accurate information regarding the nature of any known or potential terrorist attack.  Unless the University computer information system is affected, accurate information and advice regarding emergency procedures will be provided via emails and the University webpage.

4.  Suspicious Packages/Envelopes

Although a package could contain a biological, chemical or explosive agent, the likelihood is remote.  Experience demonstrates that most are a hoax.  We must use common sense.  The fact that you receive a package without a return address is no reason in itself to be alarmed, particularly if you are accustomed to getting those types of package from a known sender.  However, it is our responsibility to remain vigilant and treat packages that you find suspicious as if there is a real threat.

Staff responsible for incoming mail should be especially vigilant.

5. What is a suspicious package?

A good rule of thumb to use when evaluating a package would be ôIs it unusual, considering normal incoming mail and packages?ö  The following are some indicators that may help you in this evaluation:

     Grease stains or discoloration on paper

     Strange odors

     Lopsided or uneven envelope

     Protruding wires or tinfoil

     Excessive securing material, such as masking tape, string, etc.

     Excessive weight

     Wrapped in brown paper with twine

     No return address

     Insufficient or excessive postage

     Return address and postmark are not from same area

     Foreign mail

     Restrictive markings such as Confidential, Personal, or Hand Deliver

     Hand-written or poorly typed addresses

     Incorrect titles

     Titles but no names

     Misspellings of common words

     Is addressee familiar with name and address of sender?

     Is addressee expecting package/letter?

6.  Opened Package

If you have opened a package containing a threat, powder, or unknown substance or have handled an unopened package with a substance spilling out of or bleeding through:

a.      Place it down gently at the location where you opened or touched it. Try to keep the substance from becoming airborne. Do not shake or empty the contents of the package.

b.      You may place the package and contents in a zip-lock style plastic bag if available.

a.      Do not move the package from its current location.

b.      Leave the room and close the windows and doors behind you. Move to an area that will minimize you exposing others.

c.      If possible, wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face.

d.      Immediately contact University Police.

e.      Do not allow others to enter the area.

f.        University Police will notify the appropriate agencies and University departments, depending on the situation.

g.      List the names and telephone numbers of all the people present in the room or area when this suspicious letter or package was opened. Give this list to the law enforcement officers when they arrive.

h.      Remain calm. Exposure does not mean that you will become sick.

i.        Depending on your situation, responding emergency personnel may ask you to shower and change clothes.  It is important to place contaminated clothing in a sealable plastic bag for analysis and evidence.

j.         Testing of individual exposed to an unknown substance for an infectious agent by use of nasal swabs or blood tests is usually not appropriate until Health Department test results are available.

7.  Unopened Package

If the suspicious package is unopened with no leakage, spillage or bleeding:

a.      You may place the package and contents in a zip-lock style sealable plastic bag if one is available.

b.      Immediately contact University Police.

c.      University Police will notify the appropriate agencies and University departments, depending on the situation.

Individuals that may have been exposed will be contacted as soon as any test results are known.


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