Plan ahead now for snow

Giving your mailbox a thorough shaking can save you from headaches this winter.

Michigan’s county road agencies have joined together in asking residents to prepare for winter by shaking their mailbox.

“Many homeowners have started the practice of changing batteries in smoke detectors and filters in furnaces when clocks are changed for daylight savings time,” County Road Association of Michigan Director John Niemela said.

“In the same manner, Shake Your Mailbox Day is designed to get the public involved in proactive mailbox maintenance,” Niemela said in a statement.

In most instances where mailboxes are damaged during winter snow removal operations, the snow plow doesn’t actually hit the mailbox, Niemela said.

The force of snow thrown from the roadway is enough to knock down a loose mailbox. Damage to these posts and receptacles can often be prevented by proper routine maintenance.

“Taking time to tighten screws and secure mail receptacles now can prevent serious headaches later,” he said.

“Give your mailbox a good shaking. If the mailbox moves when shaken, the mailbox and/or post may not withstand standard snow removal operations and should be repaired or replaced prior to the onset of winter,” Niemela said.

This is also a good time to replace loose hinges on the mailbox door and replace or add reflective house numbers to allow postal workers and emergency responders to easily find your home.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder officially proclaimed this Saturday, Oct. 19, to be the Fifth Annual Shake Your Mailbox Day in Michigan.

Shake Your Mailbox Day started in 2008 as the innovative idea of one county road commission frustrated by residents’ complaints of damaged mailboxes and became a statewide campaign in 2009.

Speaking of snow, the U.S. Postal Service is already thinking about winter weather.

Planning ahead and proper preparation will ensure your mail delivery is not interrupted.

Making sure property is safe and accessible is important for our families, our neighbors, and the letter carriers.

The Postal Service wants to remind customers to make sure to keep pathways, stairs, walkways and the approach to your mailbox clear and free from snow and ice.

This will prevent injuries and allow postal employees to provide the best possible service, even in the worst weather.

Also, mail delivery in rural areas and on private and secondary roads can be especially challenging for rural carriers due to snow removal occurring less immediately than on primary roads.

Most carriers on these delivery routes drive their own private vehicles and often times get stuck or cannot access the mail boxes due to snow and ice buildup. Removing the snow from around these mail receptacles is definitely appreciated, Postal Service officials said.

Additionally, customers in rural areas can benefit from renting a Post Office box at the local Post Office. Post Office boxes can be rented for 6 or 12 month periods and provides consistent delivery, even in inclement weather.

Start preparations early for winter weather mail delivery. Planning ahead for snow and ice ensures delivery and safety.