During the holidays – from mid November to Christmas Eve – FedEx delivers about 400 million packages and UPS delivers about 700 million packages. The events of this past October proved that the mail is still a method used by terrorists to deliver bombs to unwitting victims. The reality of the situation is that the procedures used to identify suspect mail and packages must be ultimately left to those who accept and encounter the package.
However, when it comes to residential or business properties, there are proven ways to identify suspect mail and procedures to follow to keep everyone safe.
Awareness is Key
When it comes to accepting packages, the first thing to note is whether a package is expected. Packages are rarely mailed to a location without the recipient knowing about it before its arrival. The first step is to inform other residents, the receptionist and fellow employees that a package is expected.
However, there are times when packages are sent without prior knowledge (e.g. gifts sent over the holidays to valued customers, partners or affiliates). In these types of instances, packaging will reflect the item is legitimate and that the recipient is safe to accept the unexpected mail. However, if the mail is suspect in any way, appropriate procedures must be followed to keep everyone safe.
This is why it is important that all potential recipients should be informed what to watch out for and what to do if the items present any “red flags”.
Past events have taught us there are red flags to watch out for that indicate a package may be potentially dangerous.
When determining if a package is suspect, watch for:
- stained envelopes
- protruding objects
- excessive postage
- a strange return address
Of course, if there is any reason you or the organization you work for could be a potential target, inform anyone who may be in the position to accept packages of the situation. More importantly, be on alert.
If the item is deemed suspect, follow established procedures to contain it and alert authorities.
What to Do Next
According to the United Postal Service, any suspect parcel should be addressed in the following way:
- Note why it is suspect (excessive postage, no return address, rigid or bulky, lopsided or uneven appearance, strange odor, protruding wires, oily stains, discolorations, excessive tape, etc.)
- If the package was dropped off, isolate the area and do not touch it
- Alert employees/residents
- Notify security and management (residential, contact law enforcement)
- Without touching the package, record all visible information (name and address of addressee and of sender, postmark, cancellation date, types of stamps, and any other markings or labels found on the item)
- Inform the police (and Postal Inspectors if sent through U.S. mail) of all information recorded from the suspect item
If the item was touched, thoroughly wash hands with soap and water and alert the authorities.
When it comes to a suspect package, awareness and knowing what to look for and the proper procedures to stay safe is essential, if not a matter of life and death. Make sure everyone knows what to do when an unexpected, suspect mail item is delivered to your home or place of business.
SACS Consulting Provides Security and Training to Prepare You for Any Type of Threat
Being prepared and planning and monitoring are essential security tactics to keep everyone safe. SACS Consulting can help your organization prepare, train and implement sound security procedures before something happens. Contact or call 330-255-1101 to speak with one of our HR, training or security personnel today.