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NEWS | Dec. 3, 2014

Mail office stamps out dangerous packages with new technology.

By Senior Airman Tom Brading 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

New technology being used in the Joint Base Charleston Official Mail Center is ensuring mail is delivered safely.

"Whether it's a suspicious package or official mail, we're the front line of defense," said Staff Sgt. Sheila Sanchez-Tosado, 628th Communications Squadron official mail center NCOIC. "The safe delivery of mail to Joint Base Charleston is our mission."

To ensure mail safety, each JB Charleston mail office  has been equipped with the most reliable explosive trace detector on the market; the Fido X3.

According to Sanchez - Tosado, JB Charleston is one of two military bases using the X3. Several other DOD facilities use a larger CBRNE detection system.

"The detector is very beneficial to our everyday mission," said Airman 1st Class Max Jacobs, 628th Communications Squadron mail office administrator. "It's able to respond to traditional, homemade and liquid explosive threats, weighs a little more than three pounds and has a battery life of more than eight hours."

The system works by swabbing a sample of the outside of the package and placing the swab in the machine; moments later it reads the contents of the package.
In addition to its reliability, it's field upgradable for updates and easy to use.

"We were all trained very quickly,"  said Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Henderson, 628th Communications Squadron knowledge management apprentice. "Additionally, the simplified interface of the system allows you to go back and educate yourself with any questions you may have."

All packages are run through an X-ray to ensure safety, and suspicious packages  are then additionally scanned by the X3. A package comes under suspicion if it's of foreign origin, heavily damaged or has writing that may be alarming.

"On the Weapons Station, we are currently conducting our mail operations in a temporary small office until our new facility in completed," said Airman 1st Class Billy Dail, 628th Communications Squadron office administrator. "The X3 device has been a great addition since we are not fully equipped over there. 

The X3 isn't traditionally used in mail rooms. However, its technology was a perfect fit.
"It is a new idea to use a portable device in an office mailing center," said Jacobs. "So when the FIDO X3 debuted with the ability to scan for Military, Nitro, Nitrate and Peroxide explosives in a hand held unit ... heads turned.  It was the beginning of a new age with this technology where organizations did not have to make a choice between portability and ability."

Having such a fast paced device has made it easier to sort and deliver mail to the base because of its simplicity and speed in being able to read samples.