Appoint a mail center security coordinator and an alternate and ensure the position is supported by senior management.

Meet with local first responders including the police department, fire department, Postal Inspectors, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and others to establish familiarity with responsible groups and identify best local practices.

Form a mail security response team, depending on the size of mail center staff.

Maintain updated contact information for response-team personnel and identify each person’s responsibilities.

Keep detailed logs of visitor arrivals and departures, and restrict drivers and deliveries to a specific area.

Establish standard operating procedures for the mailroom that include security procedures and implement a regular review of the procedures. Consider storing backup copies of the procedures at an off-site location.

Identify proper protocols for emergencies such as a fire, the presence of hazardous materials, or other environmental or safety issues; develop and maintain action plans to address each hazard; and provide current emergency contact information.

Develop a business continuity plan in the event of an emergency, including an alternate location for mail operations.

Prepare incident reports after every incident and include a review for corrective action or process improvement.

Display procedures for handling suspicious letters or packages.

Provide training for mail handling staff on policies and procedures for mail security and emergency protocols.

Perform in-depth background checks when hiring new personnel and institute a probationary period for new hires.

Ensure employment agencies provide your organization with pre-screened individuals.

Provide a separate secure area for employees’ personal items, such as coats and purses. Prohibit personnel from taking personal items into the main work area.

Limit mailroom access to employees wearing proper ID badges, uniquely identify and escort visitors, and encourage personnel to challenge unknown people in the work area or facility.

Ensure strict accountability for all mailroom locks and keys.

Hire or designate security personnel for the mail center area.

Ensure adequate lighting for areas where mail is handled and the exterior of your building.

Install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at entrances and around the exterior of your building. Use them to record and store surveillance of indoor and outdoor areas.

Install an intrusion-detection system.

Establish hazmat-response plans and a relationship with hazmat emergency-response personnel for 24/7 coverage and contact, as appropriate.

Maintain and display local first responder phone numbers to call in an emergency such as for the police, fire department, and Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455 (press 2).

Provide mailroom employees with CDC-approved personal-protection equipment as appropriate.

As your level of risk assessment dictates and your budget allows, you should augment your mail security programs with additional countermeasures.

In the event a suspicious substance is found in or around mail, Postal Inspectors who are certified specialists can conduct field screening to identify the substance.