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Not Much Stops Mail Carriers From Rounds

There aren’t many things that will stop a letter carrier from completing his or her appointed rounds.  But an injury caused by ice and snow-covered walks and approaches is one of them.

Fortunately, that is easily prevented when customers keep a few simple things in mind.

“We really appreciate when people clear the path to their mailbox,” said South Boston’s Postmaster Pat Honeycutt.  “Whether their letter carrier delivers on foot or from their vehicle, it’s much safer and quicker for them when customers shovel the snow and de-ice the walkways.”

According to the South Boston Postmaster, customers should check the area surrounding their mailbox daily to be sure no ice has built up. Just because there is only a dusting of snow doesn’t mean that there isn’t a hazard lurking underneath the powder.

“Many times there is a patch of ice under the snowy spot,” said Honeycutt. “The carrier can’t see it and could slip.”

For roadside boxes, customers should clear any piles created by snow plows that make it difficult for a carrier to reach the box from the delivery vehicle. This is a problem especially as the winter season wears on. Also, ensure vehicles do not block access to your mail receptacle.

“Each time it snows the pile from the plows get bigger and eventually it prevents the delivery vehicle from pulling up alongside the box,” said Honeycutt “Then, it turns to ice and is very difficult to remove.”

The South Boston Postmaster suggests a quick shovel after every snowfall to ensure uninterrupted mail delivery.

Remember that the carrier must have clear access to customers’ mail receptacles in order to allow delivery. 

If access to a mail receptacle is blocked by vehicles, snow or ice, then delivery cannot be made until such time as access is cleared, she added.

“We know how much people look forward to receiving their mail, and we want to deliver it safely all through the winter,” Honeycutt concluded.

South Boston Town Clerk Jane Jones also reminded town residents it is their responsibility to have all snow removed from the sidewalk within six hours after the snow has ceased falling, unless the snow fell during the night or on Sunday, in which case it is required to be removed by noon the next day.

The same requirements apply to ice or sleet on sidewalks, Jones said except that when it cannot be removed without injury or damage to the sidewalk, it should be covered with sand, ashes or some other substances making it safe for travel.

The town clerk said whenever any house or lot is unoccupied or contains two or more dwelling units, it is the duty of the owner or the agent of the owner to have the snow or ice removed from such sidewalks as required above.