Dealing with suspect packages
- Incendiary devices
- Explosive devices
- Chemical or biological contamination
- Sharp blades / needles
Look for the following
- The postmark - is it foreign?
- Do you normally get letters or parcels from this country?
- Is the name and address of the sender missing?
- The writing: is it 'unusual' in style. Do you recognise it?
- Is there any improper spelling of common names, places or titles?
- Does it have no postage or non-cancelled postage?
- Is it evenly balanced? If the package is lopsided, treat it as suspect
- If the weight seems to be excessive for the package's size, treat it as suspect.
- Are there any small holes or pinpoints which could have been made by wires?
- Are there any stains or grease marks, which could be caused by sweating explosives?
- The feel of the package. In the case of letters, it will indicate whether there is only folded paper inside the envelope or if there is stiffening; for example, cardboard, the feel of metal or the feel of a granular substance, in which cases treat it as suspect
- Does it smell? Some explosives have an aroma of marzipan or almonds
- Can you see if there are any unusual outlines if you hold it up to the light?
- Is the flap of the envelope stuck down completely? (There is usually a small gap.) If so treat it as suspect
What to do with a suspect package
- Do not open it
- Do not bend the envelope or package, or place it in water
- Do place the package on a flat surface, if possible in a sealable container or plastic bag (if it's been opened leave it)
- Do shut the windows in the room
- Do switch off any extract fans / air conditioning
- Do leave the room closing the door.
- Do not go back into the room.
- Do evacuate the building / immediate vicinity keeping clear of the suspect package.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or other part of your body in case your hands are contaminated
- Do wash your hands thoroughly
- Do keep all evacuated persons available for questioning by the police, do not allow them to disperse
- Do keep all persons who have been near the package together and, as far as possible, isolated from others
- If possible, ensure that a list is compiled of each member of staff and all visitors names and location within the building at the time of the event, and contact details
- Ensure you have a suspect package / evacuation plan in place (fire evacuation system is generally suitable)
- Raise the alarm
- Go to the assembly point
- Contact the emergency services on 999
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