Postmaster urges mailbox fixes

ALPENA –Mail carriers battle many elements so residents receive their mail in a timely manner, but, in so doing, there are times when carriers risk being injured.

In order to help protect delivery men and women, the post office in Alpena will take action to be sure mailboxes that are in poor condition or placed in locations that put letter-carriers at risk are moved or fixed.

Last year, Alpena Postmaster Rob Gross began the campaign to move, fix or replace mail receptacles that put mail carriers at risk of injury. He said about 80 percent of the people responded and made the appropriate fixes, but there are more that need to do so this year.

“We really want people who have mail receptacles the require the mail carrier to climb stairs to move it to where they can reach it from the ground,” Gross said. “We want to eliminate trip-and-fall threats, especially when weather conditions produce snow and ice. When we have someone get hurt, it is expensive for us, but it also inflicts them pain and the way they live at home until they heal.”

Gross said it is also important for people to fix any mailbox posts that are damaged, unsecure or broken altogether. He said mailboxes that are damaged, severely rusted, or not in compliance with U.S. Postal Service codes should also be replaced.

“People try to make their own out of wood and other materials, and they aren’t compliant,” he said. “You can purchase one from the store that says right on the box that it is approved by the U.S. Postal Service.

Gross said people who need to make corrections will receive a written notice with their mail and will have ample time to make the improvements. He said that, if enough time lapses with no action taken, he could stop mail service to the property.

That, Gross said, is something that will only be done as a last resort.

“We are going to take everything into consideration, because we know there are people who are disabled and seniors who don’t get around so good” he said. “We want to work with the members of the public and help them in any way we can.”

Gross said anyone who has questions about the matter can contact him at the post office.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at Follow him on Twitter