U.S. Postal Service better prepared for emergencies

The first postmaster general of the United States was Benjamin Franklin, who was appointed in 1775. Today, the United States Postal Service (USPS) operates some 32,000 retail offices nationwide.

After the events of September 11, 2001, and the lethal anthrax attacks that affected U.S. mail the same year, the USPS sought a stronger plan for emergency preparedness, response and recovery. Various post offices also needed guidance in assessing flood damage, monitoring indoor air quality, preventing and responding to oil spills, and removing lead paint, asbestos and mold.

The USPS Office of Emergency Preparedness (now the Office of National Preparedness), as part of a 10-year, unlimited capacity contract, commissioned Louis Berger to provide emergency planning, response and recovery services (EPRRS) nationwide and in the U.S. Pacific and Caribbean territories.

The firm’s services have included:

  • Creating a template giving USPS employees a clear and concise resource to reduce chances of oil spills and procedures to follow if one occurs.
  • Preparing a plan for six 1.6-megawatt generators to be available at various post offices nationwide in the event of temporary power outages.
  • Inspecting, upgrading and installing fuel storage tanks at numerous postal facilities.
  • Creating procedures to identify and clean up mold, toxic materials and damage from flooding.
  • Preparing plans to respond to emergencies caused by natural disasters, human error or technological breakdowns.