Friday, January 01, 2010

Intrepid Letter Carrier John Gorham (now retired) would love to help you in a disaster.
John Bonanno photograph, December 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) - If the nation ever faces a large-scale attack by a biological weapon like anthrax, the U.S. Postal Service will be in charge of delivering whatever drugs and other medical aid Americans would need to survive. In an executive order released Wednesday, President Barack Obama put the Postal Service in charge of dispensing "medical countermeasures" to biological weapons because of its "capacity for rapid residential delivery." The Rest Of The Story Is Here
The President's Executive Order Is Here

As many of you may know, I am a letter carrier in the USPS who will be retiring December 1, 2010. And, as usual, I have an opinion on this story. The President has made a "feel good" statement to the public in this executive order and nothing more. And I do agree that the USPS is the only organization capable of carrying out this mission. However, the letter carrier who will be tasked to deliver emergency supplies in an environment contaminated with nuclear, biological or chemical agents has received no training to succeed under these conditions. There are no personnel tasked to to train the letter carrier and there is no program to do so. There is no protective equipment now available for the letter carrier to perform this task safely. There are no stocks of supplies warehoused that could be distributed in an emergency. The Postal Service certainly does not have the money to prepare for this function and no funds have been appropriated by Congress for this purpose. The President has not made clear how the Postal Service will prepare to perform in this potentially hazardous environment, nor where it will get the money to train personnel and stage the necessary material needed to successfully achieve this goal. In other words, this is nothing but propaganda. At this time this order is a wish, not a program. The Devil is always in the Details.

Quotes From The Executive Order:

"This policy would seek to: (1) mitigate illness and prevent death; (2) sustain critical infrastructure; and (3) complement and supplement State, local, territorial, and tribal government medical countermeasure distribution capacity."

"In support of the national U.S. Postal Service model, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Defense, and the Attorney General, in coordination with the U.S. Postal Service, and in consultation with State and local public health, emergency management, and law enforcement officials, within 180 days of the date of this order, shall develop an accompanying plan for supplementing local law enforcement personnel, as necessary and appropriate, with local Federal law enforcement, as well as other appropriate personnel, to escort U.S. Postal workers delivering medical countermeasures."

This Order indicates that we should have some details on its implementation some time in early July. There is no provision for funding in the order.

Quote of the Day

"Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."-Dr. Samuel Johnson, (who was born 300 years ago 19 September last) Boswell's Life of Johnson

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