Holidays prime time for suspicious packages
By David McLemore, Antiterrorism Officer
/ Published November 18, 2009
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
As we start into the holiday season, the Eglin Antiterrorism Office would like to remind you to take precautions when handling mail and packages.
The following are a few typical indicators that highlight suspicious envelopes and parcels.
-- Unknown or a strange postmark from a place outside your normal correspondence area(s).
-- No return address.
-- Excessive amount of postage in an attempt to circumvent a postal employee from weighing and inspecting the package prior to actual shipment.
-- Abnormal or unusual size and/or shape of a package; a firing device and/or other bomb parts may be contained inside the package.
-- Protruding strings, aluminum foil, or wires on the package which could have come loose because a bomb maker's construction was sloppy.
-- Misspelled words due to a bomb maker's unfamiliarity with the English language, military ranks and/or unit designations, to include packages that just say Colonel, Major, or Commander.
-- Mailing and return address are not the same. For example, the shipping address depicts the package was mailed from Oregon but the postmark is Germany.
-- The package has an unusual weight or odor. Odor may be a heavy perfume or a cooking extract which could be used to mask explosive, chemical, or biological agents in attempt to circumvent package screening procedures.
-- Excessive packing material such as string and masking tape to ensure package integrity during shipment.
-- Evidence of powder or other contaminants which can escape through the package seams.
If you encounter a suspicious envelope or package, do not open, shake or empty the package contents, and above all, don't panic. Close the door and secure to prevent further access or exposure. Wash hands with soap and water or chemical sanitizer to prevent the potential spreading of a powder or contaminant.
Contact Security Forces by dialing 911 if on base, or local Law Enforcement (generally 911) if downtown. Finally, make a list of all personnel in the room and area where the suspicious package was recognized and provide it to the emergency responders and Public Health.