Recommended Mail Procedures

What should I do if I've received a suspicious parcel in the mail?

  • Do not try to open the parcel!
  • Isolate the parcel.
  • Evacuate the immediate area.
  • Call a Postal Inspector to report that you've received a parcel in the mail that may contain biological or chemical substances.

What constitutes a suspicious parcel?

  • Unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you.
  • Addressed to someone no longer with your organization or otherwise outdated.
  • No return address, or one that can’t be verified as legitimate.
  • Unusual weight, given the size, or lopsided or oddly shaped.
  • Marked with restrictive endorsements, such as “Personal” or “Confidential.”
  • Protruding wires, strange odors or stains.
  • Shows a city or state in the postmark that doesn’t match the return address.
  • Oily stains or suspicious discolorations or powder on package.
  • Liquid, spray, vapor, unusual odor, threatening notes.

What should I do if I receive an anthrax threat by mail?

  • Do not handle the mail piece or package suspected of contamination.
  • Notify your supervisor, who will immediately contact the Inspection Service, local police, safety office or designated person.
  • Make sure that damaged or suspicious packages are isolated and the immediate area cordoned off.
  • Ensure that all persons who have touched the mail piece wash their hands with soap and water.
  • The Inspectors will collect the mail, assess the threat situation and coordinate with the FBI.
  • Designated officials will notify local, county, and state health departments. Designated officials will notify the state emergency manager.
  • List all persons who have touched the letter and/or envelope. Include contact information. Provide the list to the Inspection Service.
  • Place all items worn when in contact with the suspected mail piece in plastic bags and keep them wherever you change your clothes and have them available for law enforcement agents.
  • As soon as practical, shower with soap and water.
  • If prescribed medication by medical personnel, take it until otherwise instructed or it runs out.
  • Notify the Center for Disease Control Emergency Response at 770-488-7100 for answers to any questions.

Rules to follow when mailing a package:

  • Make sure any package you send has a return address.
  • When mailing any package overseas, it must be taken to the post office.
  • When mailing any package to a member of the military, it must be taken to the post office.
  • If you have a package with your home return address, you must mail it from home or take it to the post office directly. Do not bring the package to the University, as the post office may construe it as “suspicious.”

Sources: United States Postal Service and Missouri Highway Patrol