View Full Version : White Powder Incident's

08-18-2003, 01:32 PM
Firefighters remove materials from Confederation Wal-Mart SaturdayGreg Pender, The StarPhoenixFirefighters cordoned-off part of a Saskatoon Wal-Mart store and closed a nearby walk-in clinic Saturday afternoon after a store employee discovered white powder in a roll of coins that may turn out to be talc powder. Saskatoon Fire and Protective Services decided not to evacuate shoppers, eager to avoid causing "mass hysteria."

Source: The StarPhoenix (http://www.canada.com/search/story.aspx?id=6aacf1c0-ebe4-458c-8f2a-4cf5f3a7b446&s=27733395.4190002&linkid=129&parent=news)

12-22-2003, 08:41 AM
Vancouver U.S. bound flights were delayed and hazardous material crews were called in to decontaminate 66 people Friday after an envelope containing an unidentified white powder was found at Vancouver International Airport. "At this point we don't know what that powder is...Better safe than sorry," Captain Rob Jones-Cook of the Vancouver Fire Department said last night. Capt. Jones-Cook said the fire department's hazardous material team was sent to the airport at the request of the RCMP. A bomb squad and the BC Centre for Disease Control were notified at the same time as a matter of routine procedure. The Richmond Fire Department, which responds to emergencies at the airport, also sent 30 firefighters to the scene.

Source: globeandmail.com (http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20031220.wscare1220/BNStory/Front/&linkid=320&parent=news(headlines)&)

05-14-2004, 07:43 AM
NORTH VANCOUVER - A hazardous materials team was called out to the front steps of the North Shore News Wednesday night after reports of piles of suspicious white powder. Emergency crews spent hours cleaning up the area, and removed the powder for testing. The precautions were taken because of media reports last week of dogs being poisoned in North Shore parks, possibly as a result of white powder found there. Authorities say it's too soon to know if either of the white powder reports are connected to poisoning attempts. "We've passed the powder on to police," said deputy fire chief Barry Penman. "Their labs will investigate [the contents]."

Source: Province (http://www.canada.com/vancouver/theprovince/news/story.html?id=111b1b42-af41-4957-acc1-44295742545d&linkid=614&parent=news(headlines)&)

02-17-2005, 12:52 PM
VANCOUVER, BC - Fire officials jokingly referred to it as a "Mickey Mouse incident."

But it was no laughing matter for 950 federal employees and drivers being re-routed as a hazardous-materials team sealed off a downtown block yesterday.

A 19-storey office building at 401 Burrard St. was evacuated for about 2 1/2 hours and four mailroom employees who were "exposed" to a package containing white powder were decontaminated.

Source: The Province (http://www.canada.com/vancouver/story.html?id=f4807ac7-4bcd-47f6-99a9-8a3bd0d7746d&linkid=1470&parent=news(headlines)&)

02-22-2005, 02:13 PM
AURORA, ON - In the weeks following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, companies around the world scrambled to deal with the fear and uncertainty that came with reports of unknown powders and suspicious packages found in mailrooms and offices.

Most of those calls ended up being false alarms triggered in an atmosphere of paranoia. But in many organizations, security and safety personnel responded as prescribed by procedures set out for a bomb threat or chemical spill. Some of those security and safety personnel responded without any real knowledge of what awaited them, let alone how to handle such severe threats as anthrax or other deliberately placed pathogen not seen before.

Source: Canadian Occupational Safety magazine (http://www.industrialsourcebook.com/cgi-bin/archivef.pl?id=830&linkid=1486&parent=news(headlines)&)

03-04-2005, 08:11 AM
We are getting more and more of these all the time. Just wondering if it is a nation-wide problem. Of course this all started when the anthrax incident's were happening to the south of us. We were running all over the city at that time whenever someone found white powder anywhere. It was getting ridiculous and protocols had to be brought in. Regardless, we still have to respond and treat it as a serious threat each time but the level of response depends on certain circumstances now. We had one yesterday and it turned out false after testing the substance. It ties up a lot of resources each time but this is the day and age we live in I quess. Your thought's...........BC....

03-04-2005, 08:35 AM
We're the same here ... comes in as unknown white powder, and we respond full hazmat. Usually turns out to be laundry detergent that spilled out. But as you said bestcoast, you have to treat every occurrence as if it were serious. Although, the calls are a lot less than they were a couple of years ago.

03-08-2005, 08:49 PM
We had one at work a while back.....turned out someone had broken a tape dispenser and it was filled with white sand? (granulars seemed a bit small for sand to me.....)

Whoever broke it taped the taped roller back together, but never cleaned up the pile of white powdery crap they left behind......grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I had the joys of explaining that one to management.

Employees did as they were instructed though - white powder? leave the immediate area.

03-09-2005, 05:09 AM
We have had lots of white powder "scares" here since Sept 11. We actually had one suspicious package before Sept 11 also. Long story but that one turned out to be marijuana that some guy wanted tested at one of our biochem labs. Curiously no one in the emergency community cared at that time. Although the cops came and got he pot once we identified it. Long but funny story... I actually co-presented at the Emergency Services Conference in Brandon on year with a fellow from the Cadham Lab on suspicious package response.

After Sept 11 we had dozens of white powder incidents. One incident resulted in the fire dept hazmat guys being called in for drywall dust in a mechanical room. Six fire trucks and 7 police cars illustrated the need for us to perform some type of triage for these incidents so as not to bog down our local E/R system. After that one we started dealing with these incidents much the same as Manitoba Conservation was in the province. We developed a procedure that saw Security Services and ourselves involved in assessing the "threat level" and acting accordingly. We wet wiped many white powders and opened dozens of pieces of mail in a fumehood under precautions and found lots of interesting things. A returned T-shirt and an invitation to a trade show in Geneva were the most unusual. We did however have one package come in that had a bunch of anti-american, pro-taliban rhetoric on the outside of the envelope. I still don't know how it made it through Canada Post. That one we treated more seriously and isolated in a fumehood. The bomb squad came in and x-rayed it and cleared it for explosives. We used a radiation survey meter and cleared it for radiological threats. In the end Manitoba Conservation transported it to the Cadham Lab where they did a gram stain on the letter and cleared it for biological agents. According to Conservation, at the time our incident had been the most viable threat in Manitoba (it was later toped - our fame was short lived).

By applying a little common sense and some available technology and expertise we were able to deal with dozens of these incidents ourselves. Had any "real" incidents happened in Canada we would probably have done things differently.

I like to qualify our procedures as maintaining perspective. We still get the odd white powder call every few months. The suspicious mail stuff has not been an issue in over a year though...

From the volly fire side: We had a total of 0 incidents. Maybe country folk are just less jumpy.

04-08-2005, 01:19 PM
Anthrax isn't a white powder...it is more of a taupe(if that's how you spell it) or beige.

04-08-2005, 09:23 PM
Anthrax isn't a white powder...it is more of a taupe(if that's how you spell it) or beige.

While that may be true the fact is "white powder" is what causes joe public to go crazy and freak out over nothing. Media overworked the whole thing in my opinion.

04-08-2005, 10:00 PM
Has anyone thought of using the new-ish trend in fire fighting of educating the public? Making them aware of what to look out for? Like, the whole "taupe" or "slight desert tan" or "carribian beach" colour and the such. Maybe could prevent these calls out to ID sugar. Sorry bout making fun of colours there...

04-09-2005, 01:52 AM
Anthrax isn't a white powder...it is more of a taupe(if that's how you spell it) or beige.
Thats great, tell the public that when they call 911..:rolleyes:.....BC

04-13-2005, 07:50 AM
SURREY, BC - Fear of an anthrax attack kept dozens of Surrey tax workers locked in their offices late last night.

"They are testing for six different things, anthrax being one," said Surrey RCMP Sgt. Paul Bissonnette. "We don't know what substance we are dealing with here. There were workers in close proximity to it and other workers who were in the same room. We've got 78 people that may have been exposed."

It's the second time in a month that a white-powder-filled envelope has been sent to a Lower Mainland tax office.

Yesterday afternoon, Bissonnette said an envelope containing a mysterious white powder was opened by staff at Surrey's Canada Customs and Revenue Agency office.

Source: canada.com (http://www.canada.com/vancouver/story.html?id=fc715055-1d7b-4c9a-8492-8ede4f208246)

04-13-2005, 03:12 PM
Anthrax isn't a white powder...it is more of a taupe(if that's how you spell it) or beige.

I've heard this statement in training too but actually this can be unreliable. Now I'm not a microbiologist but my understanding is that the beige stuff is the growth media. Agar is the most common and is that beige colour. Conceivably it could be a variety of colours if the media is different.

04-13-2005, 06:10 PM
I've heard this statement in training too but actually this can be unreliable. Now I'm not a microbiologist but my understanding is that the beige stuff is the growth media. Agar is the most common and is that beige colour. Conceivably it could be a variety of colours if the media is different.

I think in this day and age,even though the initial panic has died down any U/K substance should be treated as methylethylbadshit til proven otherwise.Better safe than sorry regardless of color shape or medium. Didnt a fedex truck out west get in an accident not to long ago?It turned out to be full of all kinds of nastiness.Fedex dont transport hazmat do they?Nah!(hard to type sarcasm)


09-16-2005, 07:35 AM
OTTAWA, ON - Here's an up-close look at Ottawa's capabilities and how they've evolved over time: Before 9/11, few Ottawa residents could say they knew the capital had a hazmat team even though the specialized unit has existed since the mid-1990s.

A search of the Sun's database reveals just two hazardous materials incidents worthy of media coverage before the U.S. attacks. The call volume hovered around four to five calls a year until 2001 when it peaked at 275. For the next two years, it became second nature to find areas cordoned off as firefighters in non-traditional white suits quarantined and decontaminated government workers and bank tellers who'd encountered a suspicious white powder.

Call volume remained high at 228 calls in 2002 and 262 in 2003, but Kim Ayotte, Ottawa Fire Service's chief of special operations, says the number of calls dropped to 80 last year after a change in protocol.

Source: ottsun.canoe.ca (http://ottsun.canoe.ca/News/Terror/2005/09/16/1219229-sun.html)

09-16-2005, 07:43 AM
OTTAWA, ON - Sept. 11 proved a wake-up call for government and emergency personnel across North America, but in Ottawa, a small group of trailblazers has been working to strengthen the capital's anti-terror capabilities since the mid-1990s.

Today, the National Capital CBRNE (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Explosives) Response Team touts itself as a model for the entire country. A consortium of RCMP and city police, fire, paramedics, public health, hospital and city officials as well as federal and provincial partners, the group meets regularly to co-ordinate disaster prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

Each player is funded by a different jurisdiction -- city, province or feds.

"A lot of it had to do with just understanding the risks happening around the world and Ottawa wanted to position itself in a way to be prepared for those circumstances," said John Ash, manager of the city's emergency measures unit that co-ordinates the effort.

Source: ottsun.canoe.ca (http://ottsun.canoe.ca/News/Terror/2005/09/16/1219228-sun.html)

06-15-2006, 07:44 AM
CALGARY, AB - Some terrifying moments at a Calgary postal distribution centre in the north west today (Wednesday) after employees noticed something leaking from a suspicious package. The discovery prompted a full-scale emergency. Around 7 a.m., two female employees noticed the leak and called the fire department, prompting more than 40 Canada Post employees to be quaranteened in a parking lot near their distribution centre on 68th Avenue N.W. "The police and fire depart working at a worst case scenario, ramping up, making sure whatever it is is not harmfull," says E.M.S. spokesman Ben Morgan.Source: citytv.com (http://www.citytv.com/calgary/news_30629.aspx)

06-18-2006, 02:43 AM
Sounds like similar BS calls we've received in Vancouver last year. Same situation Postal depot downtown with an "unknown" substance in an envelope. Middle of summer and i gotta get into a level A suit!!.Great weight loss program but not a healthly way to lose some pds!!!...........Gotta error on the side of caution but what a waste of resources...............BC............

06-21-2006, 07:34 AM
SASKATOON, SK - It appears, at this point, a 9-1-1 call about a suspicious package at the downtown Post Office this morning, was a false alarm. The Fire Department closed down a portion of 4th Avenue in front of the Post Office this morning while staff were decontaminated and monitored for medical issues. The white powder, found on an envelope was, in part talcum powder. The envelope appeared to be addressed properly and had a return address.Source: saskatoonhomepage.ca (http://www.saskatoonhomepage.ca/news_view_story_2147496304.php?story_id=2147501445&cat_id=2147483652)

Suspicious package mostly talcum powder: cbc.ca (http://www.cbc.ca/sask/story/sk-powder060621.html?ref=rss)

07-17-2006, 10:48 AM
SASKATOON, SK - A suspicious package of white powder caused a few tense moments Sunday night at the Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport. Airport officials became concerned after a cleaning crew found the package at around 9 p.m. in a work area in the terminal building. The powder was in a small Tupperware-like container, with a two of diamonds playing card attached. Saskatoon firefighters with the department's dangerous goods response team said someone had scribbled references to God on the card, but they could make no sense of the message, said a fire department spokesman.Source: cbc.ca (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2006/07/17/suspiciouspowder.html?ref=rss)

01-23-2007, 09:12 AM
Parts of Vancouver City Hall were cordoned off Monday morning after the discovery of an unidentified white powder in the mail room.
The fire department's hazardous materials teams were called to the landmark building at 12th Avenue and Cambie Street, after a city worker discovered the powder in a tax remittance envelope.


Man are these calls a pain in the A$$.......:thumpdown: .......BC..............

01-23-2007, 09:14 AM
Man are these calls a pain in the A$$.......:thumpdown: .......BC..............

Unless you are right in the middle of cleaning the S#1%%er

01-23-2007, 10:25 AM
Unless you are right in the middle of cleaning the S#1%%er

Or soogie!!!.......BC............