Responsible for protecting the lives of every person on campus.

Updated Guidelines for Handling Mail

Posted Nov-11-2001

Preventative Measures for Handling Mail

  1. Always conduct a cursory scrutiny of the items highlighted in Appendix A while the mail is sorted/distributed.
  2. Self-protection can be enhanced when handling or sorting mail by adopting the following suggestions as is appropriate:
    • Hold, sort letters at arm's length away from torso.
    • Do not "multi-task" while opening the mail-devote your full attention to this task.
    • Wash hands for one minute with warm water and soap before opening mail.
    • Do not eat, drink or smoke around mail.
    • Wear disposable latex gloves, especially if you have broken skin or open skin lesions.
    • Do not open envelope or package on or over a desk. Open by holding over a wastebasket.
    • Do not open envelope or package within inches of the face or eyes.
    • Open at arm's length, turning face to one side.
    • Hold envelope with the torn or cut edge upward, so that nothing can flow or fall out and down.
    • Look inside to verify no substance is present.
    • If a substance or device is detected or suspected, carefully lay item down and have someone else call 911.
    • If no substance is present, process as routine.
    • Wash hands after handling mail.
  3. If one or more items as noted in Appendix A are indeed detected, and there is cause for concern regarding the envelope or package:
    • Set it aside.
    • Protect and isolate it.
    • Do not allow anyone to handle it any further.
    • Do not open.

    Call the University Police Department immediately (extension 3456) to assume responsibility for further processing of the item.

Appendix A

Clues to look for to determine if a package/envelope may be suspicious

  1. Regular postage stamps used instead of meter imprint/strip.
  2. Excessive postage used.
  3. Address (and return) written or hand-printed instead of labeled or machine/computer printed.
  4. Written address with no return address.
  5. Scotch tape used to help seal envelope.
  6. Return address is bogus, and/or is totally unfamiliar to addressee.
  7. Written return address/zip code does not match or correspond to postmark, or postal hand stamp.
  8. When envelope is held up to bright light, a fine residue powder, granular substance might be in evidence.
  9. When tipped side to side, package or envelope contents might reveal noise like sand inside.
  10. There is no letter inside the envelope (when held up to light).
  11. Any additional non-standard statements written or printed on package or envelope.

Note that the presence of one or more of these indicators does not, in and of itself, mean that the object presents a "credible threat." A number of factors would contribute to that determination, including some of the factors discussed above the Appendix.

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