NORTHERN OHIO - It takes more than a few flakes to deter letter carriers from making their appointed rounds throughout northern Ohio. "But, if we cannot reach your mailbox, we cannot deliver your mail," said Melvin J. Anderson, USPS Northern Ohio District Manager.

"The Postal Service treats safety and service with equal priority," Anderson said. "That's why we remind you to include that mailbox in your snow removal routine."

Letter carriers are on the front line of severe weather conditions like many areas are experiencing today, he explained. "Painted porches and steps can be especially hazardous. While salting and rubber-backed mats help, we rely on residents to clear the snow. If there's a warm spell, and the melting snow puddles, a quick freeze can make a sidewalk slick again."

Residents who receive delivery to roadside mailboxes also must keep the approach to, and exit from, the mailbox clear of snow along or vehicles, or trash cans or any other obstacles. "The carrier needs to drive in, and then out, without leaving the vehicle," said Anderson. "The area near the mailbox should be cleared in a half-moon shape to give the carrier full visibility."

"Please watch for slow-moving postal vehicles, carriers on foot, and children at play near mailboxes or snow banks," he said. "And don't zip by neighbors who are clearing mailboxes or collecting their mail. Let's all stay safe."