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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 23, 2001

The September 11th attack
Tips for sorting through the mail

 •  Anthrax seen as unlikely to hit Islands

Compiled from information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Postal Service

Fewer than a dozen cases of anthrax have been confirmed in the United States, and public health officials say the growing number of people who have been exposed to the bacterium will not necessarily develop the disease. Still, the U.S. Postal Service has issued the following tips.

• • •

Tips on spotting suspicious mail

It has a powdery substance on the outside.

It is unexpected or is from someone unfamiliar to you.

It is addressed to someone no longer with your organization or is otherwise outdated.

It has no return address, or it has one that cannot be verified.

It is of unusual weight given its size, or it is lopsided or oddly shaped.

It has an unusual amount of tape on it.

It is marked with restrictive words such as "Personal" or "Confidential."

It has a strange odor or stains.

It shows a city or state in the postmark that doesn't match the return address.

• • •

What to do if you receive a suspicious letter or parcel

Do not try to open it. Do not sniff, hit or otherwise tamper with it.

Isolate the mail; put it in a sealable bag.

Evacuate the immediate area.

Call 911, or the local FBI at 566-4300.

• • •

What to do if you receive an anthrax threat by mail

Do not handle the mail.

If you're at work, notify your supervisor, who should immediately contact the local post office, local police, safety office or designated person.

Make sure damaged or suspicious packages are isolated and the immediate area is cordoned off.

Ensure that all people who have touched the mail wash their hands with soap and water.

An inspector from the post office will assess the situation and coordinate with the FBI.

Make a list of all people who have touched the mail that contains the threat, including contact information. Give the list to the Postal Inspection Service.

Place all items worn when in contact with the mail 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 Centers for Disease Control Emergency Response at (770) 488-7100 for answers to any questions.