Want your mail? Shovel your walk.
U.S. Postal Service officials are asking the public to make it as safe as possible for mail carriers to get to and from your mailbox. During the winter months, snow and ice can be dangerous for mail carriers as they make their daily deliveries.
"Some of the boxes up here just get buried," said Eden Postmaster Jeannie Marsell. "People don't realize how hard it can be to get up to the mailbox."
Marsell said people shovel in straight lines, which is great for the driveway. When shoveling by the mailbox, however, it's best to get all of the snow out of the way.
"They've got to be able to get close enough to pull the lid down, put the mail in and put the lid back up," she said. "It's best to do it as soon as possible after a storm too, while the snow is soft."
Mount Ogden postal office station manager Eric Parent said people who don't shovel, and allow the snow to turn to ice, put mail carriers at risk for injury.
"When they have to walk on slippery steps or pathways, it's hard to keep their balance, especially when they are carrying letters and packages in their hands," Parent said. "If conditions are really bad, we ask our carriers not to take a chance on getting hurt. It really all boils down to safety."
Utah letter carriers make an average of more than 600 deliveries a day, said USPS district manager Ken McArthur. While they will continue to do their best to deliver the mail, unsafe conditions may cause a delay.
"We want our carriers to return home to their families each night," he said. "Keeping your path clear to your mailbox will go a long way toward keeping our letter carriers safe and ensuring mail delivery each day."
Parent said sometimes it's hard to get right out and shovel, especially if a person has to work. If that's the case, there are still ways to help your mail carrier.
"If you can't clear the snow right away because you're at work and it ends up turning to ice, use some rock salt and continue to sprinkle it on the ice to work it down. It does a great job," he said.
Marsell also said kitty litter helps with traction.
"Just sprinkle a little bit on your walk or curb while you're working on ways to melt the ice," she said.
Using a 2-by-4 and shoving it in the snow as a temporary mailbox is also an alternative, Marsell said. Some people even put a bucket on the end of a stick extending from their mailbox, making it easier for the mail carrier to reach.
"We want to thank those customers who have cleared their walks, steps and approaches to mailboxes following each snow storm, and encourage those who haven't to do so as soon as possible," said McArthur.