Dear First Responders And HAZMAT Folks…

FBI and Homeland Security has asked that (we) get this out to the fire community. Please feel free to pass on as you see fit to other public safety officials.

Synopsis: Brief description of running club “hash runs” and use of white powder to mark routes during these runs.

Details: Local law enforcement and Hazardous Material Response Teams have received calls concerning a white powder substance that has been found on streets of some cities in significant amounts. The powder has been determined to be flour and is being left by running groups to mark a running course.

These runs are referred to as “hash runs” and are popular throughout the United States. Several cities have these groups and there is no overseeing organization that regulates their activity nationally. Individual cities may have several groups and there is generally no set routine for the course being run. The organizers mark the course using piles or lines of flour. Runs most often occur on weekday nights. (Ed note – Weekends too!)

Public awareness and a concern for safety have prompted several calls to local law enforcement agencies regarding this unidentified powder (flour). Recent calls have occurred in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The associated response to determine the nature of the powder diverts law enforcement/fire resources and time away from legitimate concerns.

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