It is very important to pay close attention to all incoming correspondence. The risk of contracting any disease from an envelope is extremely low. General awareness of one's surroundings and suspicious mail is appropriate. All employees who regularly handle mail should take extra precautions.

Quick Reminders if a Suspicious Letter or Package is Received

  • Handle with care. Don't shake it.
  • Isolate and look for indicators.
  • Don’t open, smell, or taste it.
  • Treat it as suspect! Call security!

For a Bomb

  • Evacuate immediately.
  • Call security or the police.

For Biological or Chemical Agents

  • Isolate it. Don't handle it.
  • Call security or the police.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water.

Detecting Suspicious Packages and Letters

Suspicious packages or letter may have:

  • Return addresses from someone unexpected or unfamiliar to you.
  • Addressees who are no longer with the department.
  • Unusual lumps, bulges, or protrusions. Inspect them without applying pressure.
  • Leaks stains, or protruding wires, string, tape, etc.
  • Handwritten addresses or labels from companies. Check to see if the company exists.
  • String wrapping or twine.
  • Excess postage on small packages or letters, which may indicate that the object was not weighed by the post office.
  • No postage or non-canceled postage.
  • A city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address.
  • Foreign writing, addresses, or postage.
  • Handwritten notes, such as: "To Be Opened in the Privacy of," "CONFIDENTIAL," or "Prize Enclosed."
  • Improper spelling of common place names or titles.
  • Arrived by hand delivery or been dropped off for a friend.
  • No return address or a nonsensical address.
  • Arrived before or after a telephone call from an unknown person asking if the item was received.

Handling Suspect Packages

General precautions to use if you handle large volumes of mail:

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after handling mail.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke around mail.
  • Disposable latex gloves may be worn, especially if you have open cuts or skin lesions on your hands

If a letter is received that contains powder or a written threat:

  • Do not shake or empty the envelope.
  • Isolate the specific area of the workplace so that no one disturbs the item.
  • An evacuation of the entire workplace is not necessary at this point. Simply isolate the immediate area.
  • Contact security or the police. It will be extremely important for you to inform security what you have received and what you have done with it. Indicate whether the envelope contains any visible powder or if powder was released.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least one minute.
  • Do not allow anyone to leave the office that might have touched the envelope.
  • When security and emergency services arrive, they will provide further instructions on what to do.

Important

  • Do not panic.
  • Do not walk around with the letter or shake it.
  • Do not merely discard the letter.