Guidelines for Safe Mail Handling
Your best defense against contaminated mail is to be aware of what to look for and what steps to take if you do find a suspicious letter or package. Common sense is your best defense. The following guidelines are compiled from various sources including Yale University Police.
General precautions for those who handle large volumes of mail:
- Wash your hands with warm soap and water before and after handling mail.
- If you have open cuts or skin lesions on your hands, disposable vinyl gloves may be appropriate.
- Use a letter opener, not your hands, to open envelopes.
- Suspicious Mail Indicators:
- No return address
- Badly typed or handwritten address
- Lopsided or uneven envelope
- Title, but no name
- Excessive tape, string, weight or postage
- Oily stains on Wrapper
- Misspelled common words
- Protruding wires
- Strange odor
- Ticking sound
- Personal or Confidential markings
If a letter is received that contains powder or contains a written threat:
- Do not shake or empty the envelope.
- Isolate the workplace area so that no one disturbs the item. Do not attempt to clean up or cover any spilled powder.
- Make coworkers aware of the envelope and have a them call your supervisor who will call Campus Police at 1-1-1 and tell them what you received, what was done with it, if the envelope contains any visible powder and if the powder was released.
- Leave the immediate area and wash hands with warm water and soap. Have employees available when emergency personnel arrive.
- Do not panic
- Do not move, shake or handle the letter
- Do not open or discard the letter
- Do not smell or taste any powder