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After white powder scare near Super Bowl site ASU emergency management and homeland security expert offers tips

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JONESBORO, AR (RNN/KAIT) - Packages containing white powder delivered Friday to hotels near MetLife Stadium and other locations have been deemed inert, according to authorities.

The FBI stated initial testing showed none of the envelopes contained dangerous substances, although further analysis would be done to make sure.

"After 9/11, those type incidents began to happen and people were scared and would see an envelope that they hadn't seen before, and get nervous and call 911," said Brent Cox, an Arkansas State University assistant professor with the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management Program.
 
Cox says in the three years he has been at ASU, a "white powder scare" like the one in New Jersey has not happened on campus, but in his line of work he has seen a rise in copycats and the fear factor around the state.
 
"These events aren't always terrorist attacks. A lot of times it's just a single person, what we often call a lone wolf trying to cause mass chaos, mass panic, such as today. So we want to remind people not to be overly scared. Just be cautious," he said.
 
"Pay attention to the things that you are opening. If you notice the very odd, no labels, no return address, packages, overly secured, taped up, things such as that, use caution, pay attention."
 
The manager for Homewood Suites in East Rutherford said he opened a letter that contained yellow powder and referenced al-Qaida and the Dallas FBI, according to the Associated Press.One letter, sent from Toronto to the office of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, contained baking soda and read, "Always in my thoughts," CNN reported. East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella told CNN another of the suspicious envelopes had been tested, and it contained cornstarch.

The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, the teams meeting in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, were not staying in any of the lodgings.

The locations included an Econo Lodge in Carlstadt, a Renaissance Meadowlands Hotel in Rutherford, a Homewood Suites in East Rutherford and the Hilton in Hasbrouck Heights, according to WABC. A Courtyard by Marriott and a Quality Inn in Lyndhurst, as well as the Rutherford Post Office, also received similar packages, they reported.

Investigators intercepted another package in a mail truck bound for the Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn in Carlstadt, police detective John Cleary told the AP.
The New Jersey State Police released a statement that a joint terrorism task force responded with Hazmat at several locations. It said no injuries have been reported, and authorities were working to secure the locations.

The FBI is one of 100 law enforcement agencies working this weekend to ensure seamless security around the Super Bowl. More than 10 specialized teams are on standby, including bomb techs, Hazmat, evidence recovery and diving teams.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved. The Raycom News Network contributed to this report.

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