Current Events Renew Demand for Off-Site Mail Screening

By: Frank Farnacci, Executive Vice President

While the unfortunate string of parcel bomb attacks in Austin TX have been directed at civilians outside of the workplace, other recent events remind us of a need for comprehensive off-site mail screening.  While many organizations utilize x-ray technology to screen mail and parcels for explosives, this approach proves to be risky for two reasons:  on premise x-ray screening affords facility penetration, and it does not address the ominous threat of chemical and biological agents.

Recent events: 

  • February 12th, Donald Trump Jr.’s wife Vanessa hospitalized after opening an envelope with an unknown white powder.  Fortunately, the substance proved to be non-hazardous and the mailer has been apprehended. 

  • February 28th, eleven Marines fall ill after U.S. Marine Corps headquarters was mailed an unknown suspicious substance with an investigation still on going.

In its 2016 annual report, the U.S. Postal Inspector Service indicated that its inspectors responded to over 2,500 incidents involving suspicious items, substances, powders or liquids in the mail.  In a 2016 SafeMail survey of companies in a broad array of industries, 40% of respondents indicated that their organization received at least on suspicious item prompting action that year.  Yet, despite these figures, many organizations are still behind the curve when it comes to adequate mail screening.   

“Mail screening is often overlooked when companies assess their overall security.  Incidents like this only highlight how the mailroom can be an area of concern and vulnerability,” says Anthony Luongo, Senior Operations Manager, The Millennium Group.  Anthony is a former law enforcement officer who now is a part of The Millennium Group’s security team and manages it’s SafeMail NY mail screening facility.  

Today’s best practice involves off-site mail screening.  With advanced technologies, mail can be screened for “CBRNE” agents – Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive materials.  The Millennium Group’s SafeMail NY mail screening facility is providing this comprehensive solution to dozens of organizations in the New York metropolitan area.  Mail is picked up at local postal facilities, transported, screened and delivered back to client facilities in the same day, often by midday, minimizing any delays in mail related workflows.   Visit SafeMail NY.

“SafeMailNY leads the industry in mail/package screening, which reduces the possibility of business interruptions.  Now more than ever, it is diligent to reinforce the suspicious mail training for those engaged in package processing.   SafeMailNY adheres to USPS guidelines and best practices developed over years of experience.    Our image interpretation operators are advanced in detecting all elements of mail related bombs, ensuring protection to the corporate community.   Our premier chemical and biological detection systems offer additional comfort for the elevated threat conditions.    We remain steadfast on the commitment to improve the security controls of inbound mail and packages,” says Timothy Kerner, President, The Millennium Group.

While many still believe that the chances of a suspicious item being mailed to them are remote, unfortunately, the data disputes that.  It only takes one incident to cause a facility wide evacuation or an even worse scenario involving the health and safety of individuals.