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Mail Center Security Utah State Mail System March 24, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Mail Center Security Utah State Mail System March 24, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mail Center Security Utah State Mail System March 24, 2009

2 Preparing for Potential Threats in the Mail Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Explosive Extremely unlikely…but the fear of these materials disrupts operations, incites fear, and often diverts vital first-responder resources.

3 Postal Inspectors have investigated mail bombs and other criminal use of explosives for more than 150 years Chicago Tribune December 7, 1859

4 What Does Suspicious Mail Look Like?

5 USPS Poster 84 Request from your local post office Download from

6 Specific Features: Letter Bombs J At least ¼ inch thick J Bulkier than normal letters J Rigid, uneven appearance J May have protruding wires or aluminum foil J Springiness

7 Fictitious return address Postmark doesn’t match return address Numerous “fragile” endorsements Poorly wrapped Distorted handwriting (disguised)

8 Some package bombs are more difficult to detect by appearance alone

9 What made this a suspicious package?

10 Dangerous Mail Hoaxes T h i s i s a n t h r a x … ( o r b a B y p o w d e r … O r C o r n S T A R C H )

11 False Alarms “This letter seems to be leaking something. What could it be?” Powder… Sticky Liquid

12 Help Reduce Suspicious Incidents Outgoing Mail

13 When preparing a mailing: J Include a return address (contacting the mailer often solves the mystery of what they mailed) J Check the spelling of names and correct titles J Keep address lists current J Avoid using excessive amounts of tape or sending oddly-shaped packages J Use proper packaging for liquids & powders

14 When sending mail: J Do not mail dangerous materials J Remove batteries from items that could turn on J Look at the mail from the perspective of your addressee J Notify the addressee before sending unusual packages

15 Known Mailings Information for First Responders J We notify police and first responders of known mailings that may generate calls from addressees J Notify the Inspection Service if a large mailing of powders or other materials may cause concern for addressees

16 If a suspicious item is found in the mail or USPS facilities J Postal Inspectors conduct a threat assessment based on the characteristics of the substance, the mailpiece, and environmental considerations. J Details of the mailpiece are compared against our database of known mailings

17 IF A SUSPICIOUS ITEM IS IDENTIFIED IN THE MAIL OR USPS FACILITIES: J Attempts are made to contact the sender and/or addressee—often a simple telephone call provides information that leads to resolution of the incident “That package is from my sister. She’s sending me her famous angel food cake mix.” If a suspicious item is found in the mail or USPS facilities

18 Dangerous Mail Specialists Dangerous Mail Specialists have received training in Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, forensic sampling, improvised explosive device recognition, hazmat and post-blast crime scene processing, and technical use of portable x-ray and field screening equipment. Postal Inspector Dangerous Mail Specialists

19 J Is it from someone you don’t know? J Does the return address appear legitimate? J Is its weight unusual for its size? J Is it lopsided or uneven? J Does it have oily stains or a powdery deposit? J Is it sealed with excessive amounts of tape? J Is it marked with restrictive words like “Personal” or “Confidential” ? Screen incoming mail and packages:

20 Conduct a threat assessment, if appropriate J Are you experiencing any symptoms (difficulty breathing, itching, burning eyes, etc.)? J Are you or your organization a likely target? J Is there an overt threat (This is ricin…)? Have a plan, and follow it.

21 If you receive suspicious mail: JDon’t handle it if you suspect it’s contaminated or may contain a dangerous device JIf possible obtain the sender’s name and address. Contacting the sender often solves the mystery JDon’t shake or sniff it or “peek inside” JDon’t try to clean up powders or fluids JKeep others away from the area JWash your hands for 5 to 10 minutes with soap and water JCall your local first responders and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service

22 Package Bomb Screening Numerous manufacturers offer metal detectors and x-ray units designed for packages

23 Assess the realistic risks to your mail center… …then explore methods to improve security based on your vulnerabilities. Thank you!


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