Training has proven to be a major factor in the prevention of hazardous mail attacks. Until training is scheduled, SoBran, the leader in hazardous mail protection, strongly recommends following its five tips for opening mail safely:
1. Follow your instincts. If you are concerned about a package, follow your instincts and do not open it. Leave the envelope on a flat surface and tell your supervisor.
2. For powders: Place the letter and envelope on a flat surface. Do not attempt to clean up the mess or collect samples. Move away from the threat but stay in the general area. Do not remove clothing. Notify your supervisor and call 911.
3. For chemicals: Place the letter and envelope on a flat surface. Do not attempt to clean up the mess or collect samples. Move away from the threat, carefully remove affected clothing and evacuate to the nearest decontamination area. Notify your supervisor and call 911.
4. For potential explosives: If holding the package or letter, gently set it down, notify your supervisor, follow procedures to evacuate the area and call 911.
5. For threatening messages: If you open a letter or package that contains a threatening message but no visible liquid or powder, do not ignore it. Do not return the letter to the envelope or box. Place the contents and envelop or box together on a flat surface and notify your supervisor.
Every organization and facility should have a documented plan for handling suspicious or threatening mail before it becomes a headline. Organizations that have appeared in the media, have been engaged in a lawsuit or have been threatened with a lawsuit, have made public statements on sensitive issues or are members of a controversial industry are at higher risk.
For more information about mail safety and security planning and training options visit SoBran at http://www.sobran-inc.com/.