To help restore public confidence in the nation's postal system, the Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association announced a campaign yesterday to educate consumers and businesses on the safety measures already employed by the mailing industry.
“Our purpose is to build a sufficiently large coalition so we can do an effective job at educating the public in terms of why they need not be concerned about business mail,” said Eric Casey, director of marketing for the MFSA, Alexandria, VA. “We're not a big association. We know we can't do this on our own, but we want to serve essentially as the catalyst to get the industry mobilized on this effort.”
Starting the week after Thanksgiving, the association will hold an organizational meeting with people interested in participating. MFSA is assembling a media kit to provide to all of its members. Casey said the public would start seeing the materials in early December.
The association retained Dittus Communications, a Washington based public affairs firm, to work on the program.
It also commissioned a nationwide poll on confidence in the mail with national survey research firm Ipsos Reid Inc., Washington.
Ipsos Reid found that 90 percent of those surveyed were closely following news reports on anthrax contamination in U.S. postal facilities. However, 70 percent were unaware of procedures in place by business mailers that make it more secure than other types of mail.
The poll, conducted Nov. 2-4, is based on a sample of 1,000 randomly selected adult Americans and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Eighty percent would feel more confident in mail delivery if government officials and agencies such as the postmaster general, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the secretary of homeland security announced that a “process was in place to make the mail safer.”
“These findings suggest that postmaster general John E. Potter and others within the administration should continue to reinforce the message that our mailing system is safe and secure,” MFSA president David Weaver said. “The mailing industry is certainly doing its part to get that message out.”
The organizations represented by MFSA handle commercial mail for other companies. Member companies are taking various steps to augment security processes already in place to protect their facilities but, Weaver said, the mail they handle is already among the safest types of mail because it is easily traced.
In addition, this mail must be presented in person at the post office, with all paperwork in order. This makes it extremely unlikely that ad mail could be a source of anthrax, he said.