Suspicious Packages

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Suspicious Letters or Parcels
Chemical and/or Biological Threats

How To Recognize Suspicious Letters And Parcels

Excessive postage
Lopsided or uneven envelope
Protruding wires or tinfoil
Incorrect titles
Titles but no names
Visual distractions
Misspelling of common words
No return address
Foreign mail, air mail, special delivery

Letters And Parcels Procedures

  • Remain calm. DO NOT TOUCH the suspicious letter or package.
  • Note specifics of the letter or package, including exact location.
  • Dial 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY to report the suspicious parcel to law enforcement.
  • DO NOT TAKE THE LETTER OR PARCEL TO A FIRE STATION OR THE POLICE DEPARTMENT! These are essential public safety facilities that will be unable to provide services to the community if contamination is suspected. Emergency services will respond to your home or business to inspect the letter or parcel.
  • DO NOT ALLOW family members, neighbors, or co-workers to approach or handle the package. Public safety officials offer the best "second opinion".

 Chemical and/or biological threat procedures

If you know or suspect you have been exposed to a contaminant contained in a parcel or envelope or other container:

  • Do not panic; remain calm.
  • Dial 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY.
  • STAY WHERE YOU ARE. Tell people to stay away from you and the contaminated area.
  • Isolate the affected area. Close doors, windows. Secure the immediate area.
  • You may seal the suspect envelope or parcel in a large plastic ziplock bag if available. Do not handle the object unnecessarily in order to seek out a large enough bag; if none is close by, it is better to leave the object undisturbed than to move it around.
  • Everyone who contacted the package directly must remain isolated until the fire department, law enforcement or other competent authority determine the level of threat.
  • All who have NOT been exposed to the biological/chemical contaminant or its packaging should evacuate the building and wait nearby.
  • Upon evaluation of the threat situation, affected citizens will be notified of further actions that could be necessary.
  • Be patient. The threat assessment process is time consuming as the safety of all involved citizens and public safety personnel is essential.

For More Information:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Occupational Safety & Health Administration