Mail carriers battling brutal cold weather to make deliveries

U.S.

ROCKFORD, Ill. (NewsNation Now) — Snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can make it easier to want to skip out on work. No matter the weather, postal workers brave conditions to get letters into your hands.

Joel Perrin has been a United States Postal Service mail carrier in Rockford, Illinois for over 10 years.

“Steps is around 24,000, per day,” Perrin said.

Every winter in Rockford is a challenge — especially this year. He knows just how important it is to be prepared.

“I have three layers on around my legs and I have three layers up on top. Have this hood on and snapped in front. Pair of gloves, sometimes I’ll wear earmuffs underneath as well,” Perrin explained.

But it’s not only these dangerously cold temperatures that can cause problems for mail carriers and delivery drivers. Any amount of ice or snow will cause complications.

“It’s amazing that even though we only have 1 inch of maybe powder overnight, it does make it a little bit difficult to get to the mailbox,” he added.

USPS allows their workers to wait until the next day if they feel the conditions aren’t safe to make the delivery. But very little will stop Perrin from getting his job done.

“If we can get to it, I like to make the effort anyway. It might not be important to me but it might be important to them so I try and give it the best I can,” Perrin added.

In Wichita, Kansas, Tomas Ceballos spends about 15 minutes in the cold, hops into the truck, and onto the next.

USPS Strategic Communications Specialist Mark Inglett said while it can be cold, his crews are prepared for any weather. 

“Obviously you want to dress in layers. You want to recognize signs of frostbite, hypothermia things like that you know your body is telling you there’s something wrong so we make sure they recognize those signs well ahead of time,” said Inglett. 

Inglett said postal carriers are trained to earth healthy, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. “They go out there well equipped and they go out there educated out there so we’re in good shape and we’re ready,” said Inglett.

The United Parcel Service also pushes the envelope when it comes to training. UPS spends 220 million dollars a year on safety training globally. Kansan carriers apart of that get flown to Chicago to train on a ‘Slip and Fall’ machine so they know how to fall properly. 

While crews are ready for the conditions, there are ways you can help with the delivery. 

“Make sure your mailboxes have a clear path to them both on the house and on the curb, make sure we keep those pets inside, have patience, and turn porch lights on so carriers can see more clearly,” said Inglett.

NewsNation affiliates WTVO and KSNW contributed to this report.

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