"He who is afraid to ask is ashamed of learning." - Danish Proverb

The actions you take during a threat have an immediate impact on the safety of everyone in your mail center. The actions you take before a threat have a lasting impact on the safety of everyone in your company. Preparing your mail center and your employees to handle a threat is an obligation you must meet every day.

Education and awareness are the essential ingredients to preparedness. Most people have a fear of the unknown. Information is the counter to ignorance. And understanding is the precursor to calm. However, being calm isn't the same as being casual. Employees must remain aware of their surroundings and the packages they handle. You must carefully design and vigorously monitor your security program to reduce the risk for all.

In addition to educating the employees who work for you, you must educate the employees who work for your company. Employee awareness of the measures you've taken leads to confidence in the safety of the packages that are delivered to their desktops. Work with your company's security and human resource departments to schedule training for all current employees. Make mail security a mandatory briefing for all new employees.

When you develop your security program, contact local police and emergency departments to review the plan, and if possible, ask them to conduct training for your staff. Request additional materials for training, as well. Ensure you have the correct telephone numbers for the closest hazardous materials (HAZMAT) unit.

As always, use the resources of your local postal officials. The United States Postal Inspection Service ("USPIS") has been tracking and solving letter bomb crimes for nearly a hundred years. Reach out to the local USPIS office and introduce yourself. Ask if they will review your safety plan. Exchange contact information and develop a plan to touch base or a regular basis.

The security of your mail center is an important issue. While the threat to you or your staff is minimal, it's real. Don't fall prey to fear or take rash actions that may create a crisis. Instead, educate yourself and your employees. Develop a sound plan and have it reviewed by experts. Remain vigilant and conduct regular evaluations.

Be safe.

Mark Fallon is president and CEO of The Berkshire Company. Hey may be reached at 508-485-9090, or visit his website at www.berkshire-company.com