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 an 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