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Protecting your Employees and Securing your Mail Center. What constitutes a suspicious letter or package?. If you receive a suspicious letter or package: Stop - Don’t handle it Isolate it immediately Don’t open, smell, or taste Activate your emergency plan Notify a supervisor.

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Protecting your employees and securing your mail center l.jpg

Protecting your Employees and Securing your Mail Center


What constitutes a suspicious letter or package l.jpg
What constitutes a suspicious letter or package?

If you receive a suspicious letter or package:

  • Stop - Don’t handle it

  • Isolate it immediately

  • Don’t open, smell, or taste

  • Activate your emergency plan

  • Notify a supervisor


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How do you prepare?

  • Identify threats

  • Conduct a risk assessment

  • Develop policies

  • Draft procedures/best practices

  • Prepare contingency and continuity plans

  • Communicate and train


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Identify threats.

  • International terrorist

  • Domestic hate group

  • Disgruntled employee/workplace violence

  • Acts of nature (flood, fire, earthquake, etc.)


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Conduct a risk assessment.

Your posture should reflect your company’s mission


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Develop policies.

  • Policy – a plan or guiding principle

  • Address areas identified as priorities in risk assessment

  • Get support from upper management and key officials

  • Examples:

    • Access to mail center

    • X-ray of packages

    • Opening of mail


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Sample policies. (Private Sector)

  • Deliveries for senior executives

  • Packages


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Sample policies. (Government Agency)

  • Personal mail

  • General policy for mail


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Draft procedures.

  • Procedure:

    • Series of steps taken to implement a policy

  • Be as specific as possible

  • Update as needed


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Mail handling and processing operations.

  • Centralizing the mail handling/processing operation at a separate location

  • Centralization:

    • Minimizes risk

    • Reduces costs

    • Increases effectiveness


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Mail handling and processing operations.

  • Initial sort – by hand

  • Individuals who normally sort the mail should perform the initial screening

  • These individuals are most likely to notice packages that are out of the ordinary


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Best practices.

  • Employ professional security personnel

  • All visitors should be greeted

  • Restrict access to facility

  • Keep dated visitor logs

  • Install an intrusion detection system

  • Use surveillance equipment

  • Adequate lighting


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Best practices.

  • Badges

  • Lock and key accountability

  • Secure off limit areas

  • Develop an emergency plan

  • Train employees

  • Restrict drivers

  • Establish communication channel


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Best practices.

  • Screen incoming mail

  • Open mail in authorized areas only

  • Develop screening procedures

  • Develop procedures for:

    • packages identified as suspicious

    • confirming suspicious packages

    • isolating suspicious packages


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Best practices.

  • Conduct unannounced tests for mail center personnel

  • Make available protective wear

  • HAZMAT team information

  • Conduct After Action Review (AAR)


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Enhanced steps.

  • Bomb detection/K-9

  • X-ray all incoming mail

  • Detection devices

  • Hold mail 24 hours or until testing concludes

  • Store mail in containment containers

  • Down draft tables

  • Separate air filtration unit


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Enhanced steps.

  • Monitored mail operations

  • Safe air room for mail processing

  • Monthly swab testing for mail room

  • Showers and decontamination system

  • Wear protective clothing

  • Duress alarm


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Be prepared.

“The government processes billions of pieces of mail each year without incident; however, local, state, and federal agencies alike must prepare for the worst case scenario.”


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Sample procedure.(Private Sector)

Mail and packages for senior executives:

  • “Second Screen” bin sorting

  • Visually inspect packages

  • X-ray

  • Quality control


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Sample procedure(Government Agency)

Procedures for handling mail:

  • Wear latex surgical gloves

  • Encourage respiratory protective masks

  • X-ray incoming mail

  • Visually screen mail


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Necessary plans.

  • Occupant emergency plans

  • Contingency plans

  • Continuity plans


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Training.

  • Education and awareness are essential

  • Employee awareness

  • Design and vigorously monitor security program

  • Reduces risk for all


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Continuity of operations plan.

Implement anticipatory measures

  • Back up site

  • Continuity of Operation Plan (COOP)

  • Enables mail processes to continue


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Continuity of operations plan.

Fundamental needs:

  • To send and receive mail if primary mail operation shuts down

  • Advanced planning is important for security protection


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Recommendations.(Low and Moderate Risk Facilities)

  • Appoint a mail security coordinator

  • Standard Operating Plans (SOPs)

  • Train personnel on policies

  • Limit access of personnel

  • Identify and escort personnel

  • Establish HAZMAT response plans


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Recommendations.(Low and Moderate Risk Facilities)

  • HAZMAT emergency service

  • Post SOP for suspicious packages

  • Phone numbers for emergencies

  • Best practices

  • Intrusion detection system

  • Senior management buy in


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Recommendations.(High Risk Facilities)

These are in addition to Low risk recommendations.

  • Alternate mail security coordinator

  • Mail security response team

  • Offsite copy of plans

  • Staff specialized employees

  • Equipment for team


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Recommendations.(High Risk Facilities)

  • Publish & distribute information, personnel updates & procedures

  • Cameras at entrances and exterior

  • Require employee attendance at mail security briefings

  • Publish AAR reports


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Training.

  • What do people need to know to carry out policies and procedures

  • Keep yourself informed

  • Don’t just react

  • Stay alert


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Training.

Complete training program will include:

  • Basic security procedures

  • Recognizing and reporting suspicious packages

  • Proper use of personal protective equipment

  • Responding to a biological threat

  • Responding to a bomb threat


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Training.

  • Maintain employee training logs

    • Include date completed

  • Follow up with refresher training

    • On a regular basis


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Training.

Educate all other employees too


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Plan review.

  • Be wary of unexpected packages

  • Notify the supervisor

  • Do not shake or bump the item

  • Do not open, smell, touch or taste

  • Isolate the damaged item immediately

  • Cordon off the immediate area

  • Have employees wash hands


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Plan review.

  • Prepare list of affected employees

  • Isolate clothing

  • Shower


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Conclusion.

Mail Center must evaluate situation:

  • Objectively weigh threat circumstances in order to render a prudent decision


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Additional resources.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

http://www.cdc.gov

Federal Bureau of Investigation

http://www.fbi.gov

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

http://www.osha.gov

FEMA’s Rapid Response Information System

http://www.fema.gov/hazard/hazmat/index.shtm

U. S. Postal Service

http://www.usps.com


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US Postal Inspection Service

About the US Postal Inspection Service

  • Find us on the World Wide Web:

    • http://www.usps.com/postalsinspectors


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