Suspicious packages evolve with terrorism threat|
Posted 7/13/2012 Updated 7/16/2012
by Joe Vazquez
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Anti-terrorism Office
7/13/2012 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Suspicious packages have long been a problem in the United States, ranging from harmless to deadly. Training provides basic awareness and education but this "disposable" skill-set requires updated reviews to combat complacency and boost situational awareness. Regular validation through unit/agency exercises will also ensure base personnel know how to recognize the suspicious objects and respond properly to maximize safety and security.
The Center for Disease control defines a suspicious package as any package or item that enters or leaves the select agent handling area that does not appear consistent with what is expected during normal daily operations. In other words, it can be an object that seems out of place or appears different or strange.
This can include packages or envelopes that have:
· excessive postage;
· handwritten or poorly typed address;
· incorrect titles;
· title, but no name;
· misspellings of common words;
· oily stains, discolorations or odor;
· no return address;
· excessive weight;
· lopsided or uneven envelope;
· protruding wires or aluminum foil;
· excessive security material such as masking tape, string, etc.;
· visual distractions;
· ticking sound;
· marked with restrictive endorsements, such as "Personal" or "Confidential;"
· shows a city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address.
Though letters, packages and unattended bags are the traditional culprits, any conceivable delivery method can be used. Thinking "outside the box" can reduce potential harm. Foreign and domestic terrorists continue to develop new ways to hurt others. In some states, victim-operated, improvised explosive devices have been built from flashlights and electric razors. Remote-control aircraft have been modified to carry explosives to initiate a bigger attack. As in combat zones, what doesn't appear to be dangerous can be, but the situational awareness and quick thinking of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst personnel is at the forefront of mitigating such threats. Thinking like the bad guy in three dimensions can also help.
Personnel observing or encountering any suspicious object should keep in mind the following:
· don't panic;
· don't sniff, touch, taste, or look closely at it or any contents that may have spilled;
· don't shake or empty the contents of a suspicious package or envelope;
· don't carry it, show it to others, or allow others (besides response personnel) to examine it;
· if it was touched or picked up, put it on a stable surface ;
· alert others in the area about the suspicious object.
· leave the area, close any doors, and take actions to prevent others from entering the area. If possible, shut off the ventilation system.
· if at work, notify a supervisor or the JB MDL Police at (McGuire-Dix) 562-6001 or (Lakehurst) (732) 323-4000. If at home, call 911.
· if it was touched, wash hands with soap and water to prevent spreading potentially infectious material to face or skin. Seek additional instructions from medical responders for exposed or potentially exposed persons.
· if possible, create a list of persons who were in the room or area when this suspicious object was identified, and a list of persons who also may have handled it. Give the list to both the local public health authorities and law enforcement officials.
Holidays, mass gatherings and special events are targets of opportunity for terrorists and other violent offenders to disrupt operations and hurt people. Counter-terror programs like Eagle Eyes, iWatch and "See Something, Say Something" help keep JB MDL safe for all personnel and their families.
Ensure personnel report all suspicious activity and objects to the JB MDL Police department at (McGuire-Dix) 562-6001 or (Lakehurst) (732) 323-4000.