Postal service offers advice for spotting suspicious mail

Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2001

Safety is certainly on the minds of postal workers in these days of anthrax scares, but being safety-conscious is nothing new for the post office.

"We have always been extremely cautious of threats in the mail here in Kenai and in the state," said Laurel Pickering, supervisor of customer service at the Kenai Post Office.

No new safety procedures have been implemented in the post office system since the original anthrax incident in Florida, but mail rooms have been closed to everyone but post office employees, and employees are being reminded of safety protocols and the earmarks of suspicious packages," said Nancy Cain Schmitt, spokesperson for the postal service in Alaska.

"Safety is a big issue for us," Schmitt said. "We're doing business as usual, the mail hasn't been slowed down at all, and we haven't had any incidents of anthrax in Alaska. But it's never wrong to take the precaution of calling in the authorities."

According to Schmitt, a suspicious package is one that is oddly shaped, has wires protruding from it, has a lot of stamps rather than a meter strip, has stains on the outside of it or something leaking from the inside, weighs more than it looks like it should or suddenly appears outside your door.

Schmitt also advises that people be wary of packages with no return address sent to businesses and addressed to people who no longer work there.

Despite the anthrax scares in Alaska post offices, postal employees are not becoming overly frightened.

"We haven't had people calling in sick," Schmitt said. "There's no blue flu. When areas are cleaned up (after a scare), people are coming back to work."

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