How to Identify Suspicious Packages and Letters
Some characteristics of suspicious packages and letters include the following:
- Excessive postage
- Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
- Incorrect titles
- Title, but no name
- Misspellings of common words
- Oily stains, discolorations or odor
- No return address
- Excessive weight
- Lopsided or uneven envelope
- Protruding wires or aluminum foil
- Visual distractions
- Ticking sound
- Excessive security material such as masking tape, string, etc.
- Marked with restrictive endorsements, such as "Personal" or "Confidential"
- Shows a city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address
Actions to Take Once a Potential Suspicious Package Has Been Identified:
- Stay Calm - Do Not Panic.
- Do Not Move or Handle a Suspicious Package.
- Call UMPD at (301) 405-3333 or 911 immediately.
- If there is reason to suspect that a package may contain an explosive device based on characteristics described above, do not handle the package. Leave the area and contact UMPD.
- If the suspicious letter or package is marked with a threatening message (such as "anthrax") or if a suspicious powder or substance spills out of a package or envelope, follow these guidelines:
- DO NOT CLEAN up a Suspicious Powder.
- TURN OFF local fans or ventilation units in the area if you suspect that a device has been activated and the fan/ventilation switches are quickly and easily accessible.
- LEAVE the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering. Call for help and keep others away from the area.
- WASH your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face.
- REMOVE heavily contaminated clothing as soon as possible and place in a plastic bag or some other container that can be sealed. Give clothing bag to the emergency responders.
- SHOWER with soap and water as soon as possible if contaminated. Do Not Use Bleach or other Disinfectant On Your Skin.
- LIST all people who were in the area when the suspicious package was recognized.
- PROVIDE this list of people to UMPD for follow-up investigations and to ensure everyone involved can receive advice from local public health authorities and outside law enforcement officials.