Coast Post Offices On Heightened Alert

Coast post offices have strict security measures that have been in place for more than 10 years, but the Biloxi Postmaster admits that recent reports about anthrax have put all employees on a heightened state of alert.

"If we happen to have a piece of mail that has a tear in it or something or some substance on it, we immediately, set it aside, cordon off that area and we will contact our local 911 who in turn will contact the postal inspectors and the FBI," Biloxi Postmaster Mike Bertucci said.

Coast residents agree that the thought that terrorists are using the mail to attack Americans is frightening.

"I'm very concerned about that," Gulfport resident Tyisha Session said.  "If I receive any mail that's suspicious, I'm going to report it to the police, so I am on the watch out for it."

"I think it's kind of scary," Biloxi resident George Yankay said.  "You never know what's going to happen, but at the same time, you can't be living your life in fear."

Bertucci says people should continue to live their lives as normal, but take a few extra precautions.

Here are some warning signs:

  • If you receive a package that is unexpected, from someone unfamiliar or addressed to someone no longer with your organization.
  • Also be cautious of mail with no return address or that has an unusual shape or weight.
  • And, look out for mail with a postmark that doesn't match the return address.

"We have all of the safeguards that we possibly can at the postal service on it and if they feel threatened, contact their local authorities," Bertucci said.

Most people we talked to say despite some fears, they don't believe Mississippi would ever be a target. But, authorities remind us nobody thought September 11th could have ever happened, either.

The United States Postal Service and the Department of Justice web sites both offer more information on safety.