Top 5 Myths in Mail Screening

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MYTH #1: It Won’t Happen Here.

Complacency is the enemy of security. We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep saying it.

Most organizations don’t take adequate security precautions. Anywhere between a quarter and a third of organizations do no mail screening.

During our annual surveys, approximately half (56.5%) of survey respondents report that the organization they work for screens at least some of the mail they receive. A much smaller number—35%—say all mail is actively screened on a consistent basis.

Mail threats can occur at any time, for any type of organization. They may come from terrorist factions, homegrown extremists, or individuals with a grievance against a particular company Mail screening is an essential part of an overall security plan that includes physical security and cyber security strategies to protect an organization’s staff, assets and reputation. Yet, many security professionals battle complacency in their organizations and haven’t implemented adequate protection from mail threats.

As long as terrorists have low cost and easy access to mail, all organizations must consider comprehensive mail screening an essential part of a security program.

 

MYTH #2: X-ray Mail Screening Is Enough

Many organizations have X-ray for mail screening, but X-rays are primarily useful for identifying only explosives.

Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats require other specialized equipment and training. These threats are not detected by X-ray.

X-ray equipment is a good first step in screening mail -- but it is only a first step.

X-ray technology is often misunderstood. It is not designed to isolate small amounts of low density powder or liquids and cannot identify chemical, biological or nuclear threats. X-ray scanning systems are a first line of defense to detect threats that contain high density materials, like the metals found in IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) or PIES (Power Source, Initiator, Explosives & Switches), weapons, sharps and blades.

The technical definition for x-ray is “electromagnetic radiation of high energy and very short wavelength (between ultraviolet light and gamma rays) that is able to pass through many materials opaque to light.”

But what does that mean? Here is a simple way to think about it:

X-rays penetrate objects at different rates, for example wood is penetrated more than lead. As the x-rays hit an object, the X-ray unit collects and analyzes the object's density and absorption rate. It translates these results into different shades of grey. Low density items like most powders appear light and shadowy, so difficult to see. For color displays, the color you see on the monitor is computer generated.

 

MYTH #3: There is Little Threat

This past year was truly a “high water mark” for threats in the mail. 

There were multiple incidents including the Austin Bomber last March, Ricin letters sent to Trump and the Pentagon, and the several Mail Bombs sent in October 2018 to former president Obama, Hilary Clinton and others.

Other years we have noticed there are very few mail threats reported on.  Why is this?  They are detected by mail screening experts with a concern for privacy and discretion.

Far from declining, the number of suspicious pieces of mail, including those containing improvised explosive devices, is holding steady, according to the U.S. Postal Service

“Mail threats are so common today they don’t make the news unless they reach a high-profile target. If you wait to screen until mail terrorism threatens your company, it’s too late.”  - Amos-Leon’ Otis, SoBran Founder and CEO

If you are associated with controversial issues or experienced recent layoffs, your risk of an attack is elevated. It’s important to remember, however, that mail threats can occur at any time, for any type of organization. They may include dangerous substances or explosives or they may simply be designed to frighten an organization. Even a hoax threat can shut down operations for hours if not days or more.

MYTH #4: The U.S. Postal Service Screens the Mail Already

 "The overwhelming volume of mail does not permit the Postal Service to screen every piece." - U.S. Postal Inspection Service website

Each year, the U.S. Postal Service processes 170 billion pieces of mail.  In order to mitigate threats to employees and the overall organization, further precautions must be taken.

In addition, the number of deliveries that reach organizations from outside delivery companies is rising.  FedEx, UPS and others deliver well over 30 million packages daily.

Your organization's mailroom is the last line of defense.

MYTH #5: Mail Screening Costs Too Much

The question organizations need to ask is ‘What is the cost of NOT screening the mail?’

In our discussions with customers, the question of budget and cost does come up. Why is mail screening so expensive and why should we pay this amount when we haven’t had a mail threat in years? What we tell them is most of our existing customers felt the same way until they actually received a threat. And these organizations were shut down for days in some cases - and for weeks in other cases.

We have seen examples such as a multinational bank shut down for only a couple hours, however the cost was around 1.7 million dollars.

What will a day or two business disruption cost your business?   $500,000? $1,000,000 ? Sometimes looking at the cost of one mail threat and evacuation in any calendar year can be a good way to assess the value of mail screening. It depends on your business risk.

Make sure your facilities and your organization are protected.

Mail screening is an important piece of an entire security plan.

Basic steps for Mailroom Safety include:

1. Put a plan in writing
2. Install correct sensor equipment
3. Train employees
4. Run practice drills

If this is not possible, consider outsourcing mail screening to a third party or sending mail to a third party screening facility.

As always, I appreciate your comments. smartin@sobran-inc.com

Dangerous Prison Mail – What This Means for Your Business

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"The Postal Service, which touts itself as the most trusted government agency, has also become a trusted delivery mechanism for drug traffickers." - Washington Post

While the high-profile national mail security issues were the biggest headline news, there were a myriad of dangerous issues within the prison mail systems nationwide that also made headlines recently.

Last year saw more than a few large incidents within the prisons. In ten Pennsylvania prisons , 23 guards, four nurses and an inmate were exposed to substances described as liquid synthetic drugs like Opioids.

Concurrently, in Ohio 20 prison guards and inmates sickened by possible opioid overdose symptoms.

These widespread prison incidents have led to further scrutiny of the incoming mail security screening and procedures.

 

Prison Mail – What is the Danger?

 

Contacts outside the prison system are soaking letter paper and envelopes in synthetic marijuana and an opioid drug used to treat heroin addiction.  These pre-soaked letters and envelopes are being sent directly to the prisons.

“they had found Suboxone strips in crayon drawings, as well as under postage stamps (leading some facilities to remove stamps from incoming mail).”  - Prison Legal News

Such little amounts of the opioid is needed for a drug user, that the quantity in even a regular envelope is hard to detect.  And only a few grains can be dangerous for those who open and handle mail.

 

 

What is being Done to Protect Both Prison Workers and Inmates?

Some prison systems have put extensive rules on the types of mail that can be delivered. Others have gone to completely no original mail for inmates. Unpopular policies of only providing Xeroxed versions of mail are now being overturned in some states.

"Except for legal and privileged correspondence, Virginia prisoners also no longer receive their actual mail. Instead, each letter – which is restricted to five pages – and its envelope are photocopied, and the copies are given to prisoners."  -Prison Legal News

Prison mailrooms have had to develop more stringent screening processes.  In addition, those who screen the mail now use at least basic protective wear such as gloves and breathing masks.

 Mail to N.H. Prison Inmates on Hold for Screening Upgrades  - New Hampshire Public Radio

 

What Does This Mean for Your Organization?

The situation at prisons reminds us that anyone with a postage stamp and an intention to do harm can have easy access.

As chemicals, biologics and drugs are available on a mail-order basis over the internet, the unintended uses and transport of the harmful substances can intentionally or unintentionally do harm to those who come in contact with them at any step in the mail or package delivery and opening process.

Those wishing to do harm, have developed even more creative and deadly ways to get very powerful drug-like substances to intended targets.

Make sure your facilities and your organization are protected. Mail screening is an important piece of an entire security plan.

Basic steps for Mailroom Safety include:

1. Put a plan in writing
2. Install correct sensor equipment
3. Train employees
4. Run practice drills

If this is not possible, consider outsourcing mail screening to a third party or sending mail to a third party screening facility.

As always, I appreciate your comments. smartin@sobran-inc.com

 

A Year in Mail Threats – 2018

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2018 was a High-Water Mark for Nationally Publicized Dangerous Mail Security Incidents

And these high profile incidents are the tip of the iceberg. For every mail threat that makes the news, most others are handled discretely without national press coverage.

2018: Year in Review

We started the year with continuing reports of deadly Fentanyl flowing into the U.S. mail system as the “delivery method of choice” for ordering drugs off the dark web and the internet.

JANUARY 2018: The danger of opioids in the U.S. Mail takes center stage as reports highlight the staggering scope of this issue.

U.S. Postal Service unwittingly smuggles Chinese opioids to American addicts

And now we are beginning to understand just how dangerous this drug can be in the mail system.  Killer Opioid Fentanyl Could Be a Weapon of Mass Destruction

Shockingly, it would take only 118 pounds of Fentanyl to kill 25 million people.

FEBRUARY 2018: A white powder letter was mailed to Donald Trump Jr, and opened by his wife Vanessa who was hospitalized as a precautionary measure.

Vanessa Trump taken to hospital as precaution after white powder sent to her home


Eric Trump recently reported that white powder has been mailed to every member of President Trump's family.

FEBRUARY 2018: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry targeted in white powder threat including racist hate letter.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in anthrax terror scare

FEBRUARY 2018: A U.S. military base building near the Pentagon was evacuated and over a dozen people, including Marines, fell ill after a white powder letter was opened.

Marines Hospitalized at Joint Base Myer After Opening Letter With Unknown Substance - NBC4 News

MARCH 2018: For almost three weeks, the Austin area was terrorized by the Austin Mail Bomber incidents killing two people and injuring five. This was no hoax, and all mail and package delivery methods were threatened.

Police: Austin bomber left 25-minute confession video on phone

MARCH 2018:  Multiple government facilities in the Washington D.C. area received suspicious packages reported to contain possibly explosive materials.

D.C.-Area Military Sites Sent Suspicious Packages That Included ‘Disturbing’ Letters

OCTOBER 2018: Ricin letters sent to President Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis, chief of naval operations Adm. John Richardson, FBI Director Chris Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

Utah man charged for sending toxic letters to Trump, other admin officials

OCTOBER 2018: 13 IED’s - Improvised Explosives Devices - were sent through the United States Postal Services to 16 high ranking officials including President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and others. CNN was also targeted.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and CNN Offices Are Sent Pipe Bombs

What Does This Mean for My Business?

Mail threats are a low-cost, accessible form of terrorism. For the price of a stamp, your organization is at risk for disruption or real harm. If anything, this year demonstrates that although many threats are costly and harrowing hoaxes, they also prove deadly.

The majority of threats are actually not in the news every day. They are detected by mail screening experts with a concern for privacy and discretion.

Basic steps for Mailroom Safety include:

1. Provide training
2. Put a plan in writing
2. Install correct sensor equipment
3. Train employees
4. Run practice drills

If this is not possible, consider outsourcing mail screening to a third party or sending mail to a third party screening facility.

As always, I appreciate your comments. smartin@sobran-inc.com

 

Are You Ready for Your AAALAC Site Visit?

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Whether you are looking to become an AAALAC accredited program or coming up on your triennial site visit, our team of subject matter experts can help. Our team includes ACLAM Diplomates and CMAR/LATG-certified managers experienced in leading teams in animal care use program execution and successful AAALAC site visits.

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What We Learned from the Recent Ricin and Mail Bomb Attacks

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6 Things We Learned from the Recent Ricin and Mail Bomb Attacks

 

1. The Threat is Real

These are not hoax devices.”   FBI Director Christopher A. Wray -

Many times, the news we hear about mail terrorism involves a hoax effort.  While they continue to investigate the possibility of detonation, there is no question these were intended to be explosive mail bombs to do harm.

The devices found so far have been called improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and they can be very deadly.  Learn more about the threat of explosives in the mail as well as the threat of biological hazards from our earlier newsletters.

 

2. Dangerous Attacks are Making it Through the U.S. Mail

"..the U.S. Postal Inspection Service website says "the overwhelming volume of mail does not permit the Postal Service to screen every piece." -- NPR

There are a lot of questions surrounding how pipe bombs could travel such distances through the U.S. Mail -- and even get to their destination without being detected. Screening protocols are in place for the USPS, but the volume is such that not all pieces get screened.

And the danger of biological threats getting through is even greater due to their small quantities. X-ray or bomb dogs cannot detect biological threats.  In order to mitigate all possible danger, mail screening is an important component to your organization's overall security plan.

 

3. Attacks Through the Mail are Still Nothing New

"America's long and frightening history of attacks by mail" - CNN

From mail bombs as far back as 1919 to last month's ricin letters sent to the President, there is nothing new about mail threats getting through to an individual or an organization.

This is a frightening reminder we must stay vigilant.  And we must use all resources available to mitigate possible threats to employees,  assets and organizational reputation.

 

4. You Won't Know If or When Your Organization Might be a Target

"Mail Bomb Suspect Had a List of 100 Potential Targets, Officials Say" – New York Times

A terrorist or lone wolf's list could be long, with many types of targets included.  Why one public organization and not another?  We won't know the reasoning, and that uncertainty leads to possible danger.  There is no question that the best protection is planning ahead for the worst case senario.

 

5. Mail Screening Works

"What all of the attempts have in common........is that they have, so far, been intercepted before they could cause any damage."  –Wired Magazine

If you stop and think about the fact that none of the mail bombs made it to their targeted end recipient, then it becomes clear that individuals and/or organizations who rely on mail screening are realizing its benefits.  Disaster and possible deaths have been averted by trusted mail screening security services.

 

6. Even Hoaxes are Damaging and Costly

"Mail Bombs Don't Need to Explode to be Destructive" - The Verge

Fear is the goal of any type of terrorism, including mail targets. So although both incidents this past month were very real -- the fact that they did not reach their targets or do bodily harm, does not mean they were not and are not continuing to be destructive.  Furthermore, all the mail employees along the mail route of these dangerous deliveries were put in harms way.

 

How Can Your Business or Organization Stay Safe?

Basic steps for Mailroom Safety include:

1. Provide training
2. Put a plan in writing
2. Install correct sensor equipment
3. Train employees
4. Run practice drills

If this is not possible, consider outsourcing mail screening to a third party or sending mail to a third party screening facility.

As always, I appreciate your comments. smartin@sobran-inc.com

 

SoBran BioScience IBC Meetings

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SoBran IBC Meetings are open to the public.  Please email IBCSoBran@sobran-inc.com to obtain for the date and time for the next scheduled meeting.

What is IBC?  Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs) were established under the NIH Guidelines to provide local review and oversight of nearly all forms of research utilizing recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules. Over time, many institutions have chosen to assign their IBCs the responsibility of reviewing a variety of experimentation that involves biological materials (e.g., infectious agents) and other potentially hazardous agents (e.g., carcinogens). This additional responsibility is assigned entirely at the discretion of the institution.

Mail Screening Diverts Suspected Ricin Letters from Reaching President Trump

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Mail Screeners Divert Suspected Ricin-Tainted Letters from Reaching President Trump

Luckily, earlier this month, when envelopes were sent to President Trump and top military leaders contained the natural ingredients used to make the deadly poison Ricin, they did not reach their destination. They were identified and isolated at a dedicated mail screening facility first. Describing the incident, the FBI has indicated that potentially hazardous chemicals were also found but have not provided additional details.

Why Choose the Mail as a Channel to Harm President Trump?

The President is flanked by Secret Service when in public, locations for his appearances are checked in advance, and visits to the White House are invitation-only and carefully screened.  An attacker assumes that an innocent-looking package can easily get mixed into the mountain of mail that the President, like many public officials and business leaders, receives every day.

Are Biological Threats Like Ricin on the Rise?

Ricin is a biotoxin, on the CDC’s list of biological threats. Similar to Anthrax, it could be weaponized to cause illness, death, fear, societal disruption, and economic damage. As discussed in previous Insights articles, Bill Gates has warned that “a biological attack by terrorists that could kill up to 30 million people is increasingly likely due to the ease with which pathogens can be created and spread.”

Just three years ago, both President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg of New York were sent Ricin-tainted mail. Again, those letters did not reach their destinations thanks to skilled mail screeners.

What are the Effects of Ricin?

Ricin is incredibly deadly. The poison prevents human cells from creating proteins, causing them to die. As more cells die, the entire body shuts down. The poison comes from the husks of castor beans, the seeds of the castor oil plant. When castor oil is created from the plant in order to be used in pharmaceuticals and manufacturing, Ricin is created as part of the waste.

If mail handlers were to open a package filled with Ricin, they would be in danger unless they operated with Personal Protective Equipment, ideally in a clean room environment. Ricin in the form of a fine powder can be suspended in air, similar to anthrax, and could be inhaled.

Ricin poisoning could be deadly for those who encounter it directly, but it would not be contagious to others.

How Could Ricin be Identified by Mail Screening?

A manual screening process in a standard mailroom or an inexperienced screening team would have no capacity to differentiate a Ricin-filled package from any other.

  • Ricin – or the castor beans of the plant – would not have a particular odor to alert mail screeners to its presence.
  • It wouldn’t leave a residue on a package, cause it to become wet or otherwise stand out.

Only an advanced main screening process that includes CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive) detection would have a chance to identify Ricin within a letter or package. Advanced tools that determine the level of Ricin bioactivity will dictate the emergency response plan and waste removal plan.

What are the Types of Biological Threats?

  • Bacteria (i.e. Anthrax, Plague and Smallpox)
  • Viruses (i.e. Smallpox or Ebola)
  • Biotoxins (i.e. Ricin or Botulism)
  • See the full CDC list here

Who is at Risk?

While attacks on high profile targets like politicians make the news, we know all too well that the mail is used to send dangerous materials to all types of targets. If Ricin, or even castor beans, were to reach a food protection facility, a hospital, a school or a business, many more people would be at risk.

Every mailroom team should be aware of possible biological threats and a plan in place to respond.

Steps for mailroom safety include:

• The correct equipment to screen for biological threats
• Personal Protective Equipment
• Trained staff
• A written plan

If this is not possible, consider outsourcing mail screening to experts or sending mail to a third party facility.

Thank you to all the mail screeners who put themselves at risk to keep us safe.

Stay safe,
Soma K. Martin and your SoBran SafeMail Team

Ricin sent to the President shows importance of Mail Screening

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Have you ever worried about receiving something dangerous in the mail? Although it seems like an increasing amount of business is conducted online, physical mail is still incredibly prominent, and can be much more harmful than the emails in your junk folder. Each day, the US Postal Service alone delivers 493.4 million pieces of mail. That comes out to 5,711 pieces of mail every second!

Given these enormous numbers, the importance of a mailroom in large organizations should not be understated. Corporate mailrooms process thousands of letters and packages daily and must ensure not only that each letter reaches the intended recipient, but also that all the mail is safe to open.

Beginning with the anthrax attacks of September 2001, bioterror in the mail has become a significant concern. During “Amerithrax,” as that attack became known, 22 people developed anthrax infections and five died from exposure through inhalation. Despite a substantial government investment in detection technology since then, mail threats are most certainly not a concern of the past.

As recently as this week, letters containing ricin addressed to President Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis were discovered at the mail screening facilities of the White House and the Pentagon. Thankfully, each of these government facilities has effective mail screening systems in place to catch such threats.

Mail screening systems are becoming a necessity in modern mailrooms. The ability to identify dangerous mail and take swift action is paramount to an efficient mailroom operation, not to mention the health and wellness of employees. With a proper system in place, any pathogens present in a letter or package can be found in real time and controlled appropriately.

A secure and reliable mail screening procedure neutralizes the possibility of disruptions. If a suspicious powder is discovered in a mailroom without proper diagnostic capabilities, it can take hours or days for security personnel to determine whether the powder is a threat or something innocuous like flour.

Typically, entire buildings are evacuated due to the threat of suspicious powders becoming airborne and harming employees through inhalation. It is also common for those exposed to be hospitalized, even if the powder turns out to be harmless. Rather than sacrifice time and peace-of-mind, large corporations and government institutions should focus on modernizing and securing their mailroom processes.

Several options exist for properly screening mail. Some organizations choose to outsource their screening to third-party businesses that operate remotely, while others elect to bring their operation in-house. In the former, mail is sent directly or transported to a warehouse location where the screening is performed and suspicious packages are dealt with accordingly.

With in-house testing, a screening system is installed by the company and mailroom staff are trained to operate the technology.

Both methods are effective at detecting mailroom threats and ensuring that mail is delivered to the correct recipients without risk of contamination. Choosing one over the other depends upon a company’s requirements, risk profile, labor force, and financial resources.

Regardless of which type of screening system one prefers, the bottom line is that threats like those sent to the President and Secretary of Defense this week cannot be taken lightly. Rather, large organizations—such as fortune 500s, banks, and government institutions—need to be prepared when suspicious letters or packages appear in their mailrooms. Instead of leaving the safety of employees up to chance, such organizations should ensure that their mailrooms are optimized for safety and capable of catching pathogenic threats at their source.


PathSensors and SoBran SafeMail (r) have partnered for many years to provide clients with industry-leading mail screening solutions, both in-house and offsite. If you’d like to learn more about cutting-edge mail screening technology and how to install it in your mailroom, contact us at info@pathsensors.com or safemail@sobran-inc.com.

UPDATE:  Fentanyl and Opioids in the Mail Room

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Senate votes to make it harder to ship fentanyl to U.S. by mail -- 

"By closing the loophole in our mail screening and holding the Postal Service to the same standard as private carriers, we can give law enforcement the tools to keep these dangerous synthetic drugs out of our communities." Senator Rob Portman

Senate Joins House in Passing Bill to Limit Postal Service Role in Opioid Crisis --  

"The legislation would bring requirements currently enforced on private shipping companies to the Postal Service by 2021, when the mailing agency would transmit the advanced electronic data, or AED, to Customs and Border Protection on 100 percent of international packages. USPS, which currently only collects the data on 40 percent of inbound international packages, would have to provide the information on 70 percent of packages by the end of this year. "

Last November we reported on Opioids in the United States Postal Service and the danger to mailroom workers and anyone who opens mail in your organization.

Legislators have been working for over a year to fill loopholes and try to stop the inundation of opioids in the mail. With the passage of this latest legislation, we are a step closer to ensuring greater mail safety as well as helping those who are vulnerable to opioid addiction.

What is this Legislation?

This legislation is a conglomeration of about 70 bills that address differing aspects of the United States opioid crisis -- everything from providing more access to medical-assisted treatment to measures preventing “doctor-shopping” in order to obtain opioid prescriptions.

Why is it Important to Mail Security?

The most relevant item for mail security is the effort to reduce the amount of opioids coming into the United States from foreign countries through the U.S. Mail. Currently because no sender identification data is required on incoming USPS packages as it is from other commercial carriers, the USPS is the unfortunate delivery method of choice for illegal drug shipments.

USA Today reports "Because of the volume of mail flowing into the country, the Customs and Border Protection cannot manually scan these packages and stop illicit goods from crossing our borders.

Why Does this Matter?

According to GovExec, “Private carriers shipped just 50 million international packages in 2016, however, compared to 600 million shipped via the Postal Service.” The volume of United States Postal Service international package shipping is staggering compared to private shippers. So we are talking about the majority of international shipping for this mail safety effort.

What Changes Would Happen with USPS International Mail?

The USPS will be required to collect Advanced Electronic Data (AED) including:

  • Who the package is coming from
  • Where the package is coming from
  • Who the package is going to
  • Where the package is going to
  • What is in the package

This information will help law enforcement better target possible illegal items to search. Recently, Customs and Boarder Patrol (CBP ) has characterized the challenge of identifying possible opioids in the mail as searching for a “needle in a pile of needles in a needle factory.”

When Can We Expect changes?

If signed into law, the USPS would need to provide this data for 70 percent of packages by the end of 2018.The legislation would require the USPS to provide advanced electronic data on all packages in 2021.

Currently, the USPS provides data on less than half of incoming international packages.

Do We Have the Right Equipment for Protection?

First and foremost, protect your employees.

At a minimum, provide the protective equipment needed including:

(1) Nitrile Gloves

(2) Safety Goggle Glasses

We suggest the following the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) recommendations from the CDC website for emergency workers using perhaps the "Minimal" or "Moderate" categories.

Their categories are as follows:

Minimal: "Response to a situation where it is suspected that fentanyl may be present but no fentanyl products are visible."

Moderate:"Response to a situation where small amounts of fentanyl products are or appear visible."

For more information visit CDC.gov

Do We Have the Right Equipment for Screening?

Currently, the following are being used by mail screeners:

1. Hand Held Sensors
2. Automatic Sensors
3. X-ray Machine
4. Canine Teams  -with care, dogs can become sickened and handlers are carrying proper canine Naloxone kits in case of danger.  (More information at the end of the CDC page.)

How Can We Ensure Protection?

Unfortunately, since this threat is so new, there are not yet federal or private guidelines developed and proven. In fact, this past October, the U.S. Congress sent a letter to the USPS requesting a USPS audit to examine how it is protecting its workforce from the risks of illegally shipped opioids.

You need to know what is coming through your doors. Parcels that are illegal or endangering employees are compromising your facilities and reputation Relying on the USPS inspection of parcels is not protecting you.

1. Appoint a mail center security coordinator and an alternate to be responsible for your screening plan, your employee protection plan and to ensure compliance.
2. Establish lines of communication between the mail center security coordinator, management, and the security office.
3. Screen all mail and packages when they first arrive at your mailroom for sorting.
4. Staff who sort mail by hand should perform the screening, as they are the ones most likely to notice a suspicious item.
5. Prominently display a list of suspicious letter and package indicators in your mailroom and provide a copy of the list to all staff to ensure they’re familiar with it.

Basic steps for Synthetic Opioid Mailroom Safety include:

1. Provide and train employees to wear the correct protective equipment
2. Put a plan in writing
3. Install correct sensor equipment
4. Train employees on proper screening procedures
5. Run practice drills

If this is not possible, consider outsourcing mail screening to a third party or sending mail to a third party screening facility.

As always, I appreciate your comments. smartin@sobran-inc.com

The Secret to a Comprehensive Security Plan

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What is the Challenge?

Comprehensive company security should involve more than just security guards at the entrance and protecting online servers.  A myriad of risks must be mitigated.  These could include the following risks:

Physical facility
Fraud, embezzlement and theft
Environmental
Human capital and health
Info/intellectual property loss
Information and Cybersecurity
Product or supply chain risk
Regulations and compliance
Terrorism
Political Instability
Natural Disasters

The list has gotten very long in the past couple decades.  However there is a risk that is far too often overlooked, and is the secret to a complete plan to protect your employees, your facility and your reputation.

Mail Security is the Secret to Comprehensive Organization Security

Your Mailroom or package delivery is the 'forgotten back door' that can be easy entry to do harm.

 

Mitigating mail security threats is crucial part of a comprehensive security plan and critical to preventing business disruption.

 

Is Cybersecurity Stealing Your Budget?

Many companies spend their budget on the exciting new thing. In the security industry, that is information security or ‘cybersecurity.' It’s in headlines daily, and indeed it can harm business operations.

Mail threats harm people. Mail screening isn’t the new kid on the block anymore — SoBran has been screening our clients' mail for over 17 years. Sometimes executives forget how incredibly important it is.... until it’s too late.

Mail hoaxes cause mental harm, and disruption to business continuity. Actual mail attacks cause physical harm, damaged reputations, all in addition to costly business disruption.

Basic steps for Mailroom Safety include:

1. Provide mailroom security training
2. Put a plan in writing
2. Install correct sensor equipment
3. Train employees
4. Run practice drills

If this is not possible, consider outsourcing mail screening to a third party or sending mail to a third party screening facility.

If you need help determining your best course of action, let us know. We’re here to help.

As always, I appreciate your comments. smartin@sobran-inc.com