IMF Mail Explosion: Safe Mail and Parcel Handling Tips

Earlier today, a letter exploded at the International Monetary Fund in Paris, France, leaving one woman injured. The woman, an executive assistant, was hit in the face with shrapnel and injured in her eardrum as the envelope exploded in her face. French authorities have yet to identify who sent the letter, which was addressed to the head of the IMF, but an investigation is underway.

safe mail and parcel handling tips

T&M reminds everyone to stay vigilant when handling and opening mail and parcels with the following Safe Mail and Parcel Handling Tips:

  1. Be cognizant of mail/parcels with the following suspicious characteristics:
    • No return address
    • Excessive postage
    • Restrictive markings, such as “Personal,” “Confidential,” etc.
    • Sealed with an excessive amount of tape
    • Misspelled words, poorly typed or written address
    • Incorrect title or addressed to title only
    • Oily stains, discolorations and/or a strange odor

  2. After determination that the mail/parcel may be too dangerous to handle or move, isolate the area immediately and contact law enforcement via 911 for additional assistance.

  3. Wash your hands with soap and water.

  4. If the item contains any unidentified powder, follow the protocol for handling suspicious powders:
    • Gently put it down
    • Leave the room, closing the door behind you
    • Advise a co-worker to call 911 and ensure that no one else enters the area
    • Do not touch your eyes, nose or face. Avoid touching others or any surfaces
    • Wash your hands with soap and water
    • Call 911 (if no one else has done so), await response and further direction
    • Do not wander around

  5. Mail containing threatening images, language or items should be preserved in its original mailing envelope and packaging and should be retained for examination or use by authorities. Remember this may be evidence that could be used later in a criminal proceeding. Once opened and determined to be threatening, place in a plastic envelope or sleeve to prevent other fingerprints from inadvertently contaminating the document.

T&M provides Mail/Parcel Security Best Practices Training and other customized Security Consulting Services.