Mail Safety - Handling a suspicious letter

Handling Mail Threats

Instructions for the proper handling of a potential bioterrorism threat received in the mail. This will limit your exposure and help deliver the evidence to proper authorities.

  1. Stay calm: do not get excited or excite others. Most threats are not genuine. However, you must treat each incident as if it is.

  3. Put the letter down. Get three zip-lock bags, a pair of latex gloves and a particulate (or TB) mask.

  5. After putting on the gloves and mask, double bag the letter in zip-lock bags. Wash your gloved hands with soap and water. Remove the gloves and mask and place them in a zip-lock bag. Wash your hands with soap and water. Everyone who had any contact with the letter MUST also wash their hands with soap and water.

  7. Make a list of all persons who touched the letter or envelope. Be sure the list includes a contact phone number for each person in case follow-up is necessary.

  9. Begin notification as follows:
    • Notify your supervisor.

    • Call your local health department.

    • Notify your local police by dialing 911. The police will contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (who will arrange to collect the letter). If you do not have 911 service, contact your closest law enforcement agency.

    • If health department staff think it is necessary, notify other building occupants.


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Last updated January 30, 2012