Monday, December 13, 2004

Baker’s Dozen ™ Protect yourself from a suspicious parcel

Draft for your review and comment
Although the usual targets of letter-bombers and anthrax-mailers are government agencies or big corporations, the technique can be used by many enemies of liberty against many people, including those who are liberty activists. So handling mail these days can be dangerous, sometimes deadly. It is important to recognize the difference between safe and suspicious mail, and plan appropriately in advance.
1. Whenever possible, use a locking mail box or a post office box, and not a mail slot or unlocked mailbox, for both business and private use. If using a mail box, if at all possible, do not attach to your building or house, but have at some distance away, but in view of your house.
2. Always look for a return address and make sure that you're receiving the mail from someone you know or from a credible source. Be wary of packages that have your address as the return address, which aren’t familiar, and are mailed to unknown or improper addresses.
3. Recognize unusual shapes, especially in a business or personal-size envelope, that may indicate an explosive device or internal package or bag of some substance. Be on the lookout for soft bulges, as when powder has been poured in, in an envelope.
4. Look for staining through the envelope, especially if oily or greasy.
5. Refrain from eating or drinking in a designated mail handling area.
6. Place suspicious envelopes or packages in a plastic bag or some other type of container to prevent leakage of contents. Never squeeze, sniff or smell suspect mail. Unless you are concerned about a gas, do NOT seal the container – it can turn a small explosive into a major threat.
7. If you do not have a container, then cover the envelope or package with anything available (clothing, paper or trash can) and do not remove the cover. Put a warning note or sign on the cover or container to alert people of the danger.
8. Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering.
9. Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder or other residue to your face.
10. If you are at work, report the incident to your building security official or an available supervisor, who should notify the police and other authorities without delay.
11. List all people who were in the room or area when this suspicious letter or package was recognized. Give a copy of this list to both the local public health authorities and law enforcement officials for follow-up investigations and advice. They may have been exposed.
12. If you are at home, report the incident to the local sheriff/police and postal authorities. Alert your neighbors.
13. Be aware that simply reporting, although a smart idea, can lead to a lot more problems. Be careful under what conditions you notify the authorities, and do not be surprised if they panic in response.
Remember that not all packages are dangerous or deadly, but use common sense, just as you would with e-mail spam or finding something on the street!

No comments: