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Contributing Writer

Suspicious Packages

Dec 11, 20072 mins
Access ControlDisaster RecoveryIT Leadership

Mail rooms and others need well-defined protocols for dealing with suspicious packages

A suspicious package can be described as any container—a box, backpack, briefcase—that is left unattended and is out of place. If a building or facility is accessible only to employees, the package may simply be misplaced. Still, contact security and the building manager for a visual inspection. If the package appears to have wiring or a timing device, call law enforcement and take steps to evacuate the area around the package or the building.

At the front line of mail delivery, some mail rooms have installed a small x-ray machine for screening incoming packages. “Don’t let [delivery services] just drop packages into the lobby,” Bordes says. One client, an insurance company, received so many threats in the late 1990s because of canceled policies that it installed a bomb container with a blow-out wall in the mailroom that protects the rest of the building from an impact.

“Teach people not to panic, or to move or touch the package,” Michelman says. “We’ve had people actually bring a package down to security and say, I’m concerned about this!’ The likelihood is that a suspicious package is not going to be anything dangerous, but clearly all precautions need to be taken.”

See related CSO story “How to Handle a Bomb Threat”.