Suspicious Package

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.

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