Suspicious Mail or Package

The likelihood of receiving a life-threatening package is remote. Unfortunately, a small number of packages that can result in death, injury, and/or destruction of property have been discovered over the years.


If you have received suspicious mail or a package containing a bomb (explosive) or a radiological, biological, or chemical threat

  1. Stop. Do not handle the item.
  2. Do not open, smell, or taste the item.
  3. Leave the item at your office/workstation and leave the area immediately.
  4. Isolate the item immediately.
  5. Alert others in your immediate area.
  6. Do not activate the fire alarm.
  7. Call NIH Police (if on campus, at 911) or building security (if off campus) and Occupant Emergency Coordinator.
  8. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

What To Watch for

  • No return address
  • Restrictive markings
  • Sealed with tape
  • Misspelled words
  • Poorly typed or written labels
  • Unknown powder or suspicious substance
  • Possibly mailed from a foreign country
  • Excessive postage
  • Oily stains, discolorations, or crystallization on wrapper
  • Excessive tape
  • Strange odor
  • Incorrect title or addressed to title only
  • Rigid or bulky
  • Lopsided or uneven
  • Protruding wires
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