7 Hacks To Keep Your Feet Dry This Spring

There’s no escaping the rain during the spring months, especially when you work outside delivering mail and parcels all day. No matter what you wear or what tricks you use, in the end you are going to get wet.

But wet feet are particularly uncomfortable. They make walking unpleasant and will likely mean you are colder during your shift. Luckily there are some things you can do to keep your feet drier this spring.

Try out any combination of these hacks and see what works best for you!

 

Hack 1: Invest in rubber overshoes and waterproof socks. Overshoes fit easily over your comfortable Postal shoes and offer 100% waterproof protection. Waterproof socks will take care of water that may sneak in over the top of your boots. They’re designed to keep your feet warm, and more importantly, dry. These two items combined make for a great defense against the rain.

 

Hack 2: If your shoes get soaked during the day, use newspaper to dry them overnight. Ball up newspaper and put them inside your wet shoes, then wrap newspaper around the outside of your shoes. You may need to change the newspaper several times, but this is an effective way to get the water out of your shoes for the next day.

 

Hack 3: Wrap your socked feet in a plastic grocery bag before putting your shoes on for extra protection against the rain. If you do this, use a bag that will cover your ankles as well. Make sure the bag isn’t going to bunch in your shoes. Be warned, this method will likely make your feet sweat.

 

Hack 4: Bring a second pair of socks with you in case yours get soaked. Keep them in your vehicle where they can stay dry and be changed.

 

Hack 5: Avoid cotton socks at all costs. Cotton absorbs moisture so any water that does get into your shoes will be soaked up. Your feet will get wet and every step you take will be squishy and uncomfortable.

 

Hack 6: Use a powder or balm on your feet before heading out. This helps to manage the moisture on your feet from stray water and sweat. It can also help to reduce chaffing, which gets worse in rain.

 

Hack 7: Consider investing in gaiters if you are able to. These sit over the top half of your walking boot and the lower part of your leg. These will seal off the top of your shoe to prevent water from getting inside. Combined with a waterproof shoe, your feet should stay very dry even in a lot of rain!

 

If you have any tips to share about keeping feet dry in spring rains, let us know in the comments!

Surviving The Holidays

The holiday season is here, which for USPS employees means long hours, added stress, and of course, more mail to deliver. Here’s our tips to help you get through the holidays!

~ Don’t read the comments in articles about the USPS.

~ But do read feel-good articles about the USPS. Get inspired by stories of letter carriers serving their community or helping those in need. It can remind you of why your job is so important.

~ Don’t read the comments on the USPS Facebook page, either. A lot of people take out their anger in these comments, and they likely have nothing to do with you.

~ Embrace the longer hours by remembering all the calories you are burning.

~ Load your mail first, then your parcels.

~ Play Tetris when loading up your LLV. Stack parcels so they won’t go flying when you drive or remove one from the stack.

~ Invest in items to help you stay warm. It will make your long days more pleasant.

~ Remember that the holiday season will end, and that the huge rush of mail and parcels is temporary.

~ Don’t attempt mail and parcel delivery if it is unsafe. Yes, you should attempt to deliver everything you can, but don’t risk your safety for it.

~ Take time to relax during your downtime. Get a massage. Binge watch a new TV show. Make sure you’re doing something to unwind.

~ Get your own holiday shopping done as soon as possible. The sooner you’ve bought gifts, wrapped them, and mailed them, the less you have to worry about in your free time.

~ Don’t take it personally if a customer yells at you or complains about the mail. They may be having a bad day. They may be trying to get a package to a sick relative. You don’t know their situation, so show kindness in return.

~ Chat with the people on your route if they start a conversation. It makes your day more pleasant and is excellent customer service.

~ Don’t ignore your mental health. Meditate. Talk to loved ones about how you are doing. Don’t skip medications or therapy sessions if you need them. Ignoring your mental health makes working much harder.

~ Think of the mail and packages you have to deliver in a positive light. Think of the happy faces on children who get gifts from relatives. Think of the grandparents who are thrilled to get a Christmas card. Think about old college roommates, sending a nostalgic package. The holidays are a season of joy, and you are helping to spread that joy with your job. That is an amazing gift.

Safety While Delivering After Dark

Daylight savings time is this weekend, which means it is going to start getting dark sooner. With the holiday season nearly here, that means you face an increased risk of delivering mail and parcels after dark. Delivering in the dark comes with increased risk. There’s no one-size-fits-all method for remaining safe when delivering at night, but we’ve got some tips that will hopefully help out.

Tip 1: Stick to the safest path when making deliveries. You will save time cutting across lawns, but in the dark you are less likely to see hazards on the ground such as lawn decorations or holes. Stay on the sidewalk.

Tip 2: Watch where you walk. Again, fingering mail while walking saves time, but in the dark you need to keep your eyes peeled for hazards. Otherwise you may miss hazards such as cracks in the sidewalk. This can lead to trips, falls, and injuries.

Tip 3: Invest in a headlamp or flashlight. This, of course, makes it much easier to spot any hazards that may be in your path.

Tip 4: Be wary when on your route of dogs. At night they can be harder to spot, and if a dog sees you approaching its home at night and doesn’t know you, it may attack.

Tip 5: The same can be said for people. While uncommon, letter carriers have been threatened and even killed at night while delivering the mail and packages. Sometimes this is because homeowners do not expect someone on their porch late at night. Keep an eye out for dangerous situations near homes.

Tip 6: Assess the area you are delivering to. Is it an unsafe neighborhood? Does it have a lot of hazards in the daylight? Consider bringing this up to your supervisor. Your safety is the top priority.

Tip 7: Make sure to always watch for traffic when crossing the street or exiting your vehicle. While you would expect cars to have their headlights on that is not always the case, and a driver may not see you.

Dress For Fall

We’re right in the middle of fall, which means cooler temperatures are rolling in. If you don’t have the right attire for the season, now is the time to shop. That’s why this month we’re featuring some of our top recommendations for uniform items that are perfect for fall weather.

Long-Sleeved Shirts

Since temperatures in fall can fluctuate so much, investing in a simple, long-sleeved Postal shirt for the season is a great option. You can add a jacket to this shirt if needed, or simply complete your route without one. They are made from a poly and cotton blend to keep you comfortable while on the job. Click the link above to read the full details about this shirt.

Letter Carrier Sweaters

Carrier sweaters are a great way to keep snug during your route without wearing a Postal jacket. They are perfect for the changing seasons such as fall. These sweaters come with a zippered front so you can keep it zipped or unzipped depending on the weather. This item will keep you not only warm, but comfortable.

Unisex Dickie

If you are looking for just a bit of extra warmth during these cooler fall temperatures, a Postal sweater dickie is a great option. This simple garment is low-priced and union made, so you can be sure that you are getting a quality item. This Postal dickie comes in one unisex size, designed to fit anyone. This is a great low-cost option to help you keep comfortable this fall.

Mock Turtleneck

Our unisex mock turtlenecks are manufactured from 100% combed cotton jersey knit, so you will be warm and comfortable while on your route. It has been designed for the ultimate comfort and is made in the USA by union members. The collar, which measures two inches, provides a bit of extra material to protect you from that cool, fall breeze.

Postal Jacket with Zip-Out Liner

Our Postal jacket with a zip-out liner is great for all seasons! This is because the jacket comes with a zip-out insulated liner. You can keep it inserted when it is cool, and as the day grows warmer you can remove it so you don’t get overheated. Our jackets are made right here in the USA in a wide variety of sizes so all USPS employees can benefit.

Postal Windbreaker

Stay warm against the chilly winds and dry during autumn rain with our Postal windbreaker. The windbreaker is lightweight so you won’t get too warm, but gives you some protection from cooler weather. Our windbreakers are made in the USA so you can rest assured that they meet the quality standards you expect from your uniform items.

 

These items will help your work experience this fall be more comfortable. Which is your favorite? Let us know!

Rural Letter Carrier Tips

When you work as a rural letter carrier you face challenges that city carriers do not. Today we want to offer some tips to all our hardworking rural letter carriers out there! Some of these tips may also apply to city carriers, but all of these tips are here to help you make your job easier.

First off, we recommend not casing DPS unless you will be facing intense weather such as rain or snow. On the whole this will save you time. If you find this slows you down, try casing it, but overall most rural carriers report that the former method is faster.

If you own your vehicle that you are taking on your route, make sure you have a spare key. You do not want to get locked out of your vehicle.

Invest in a tool to help you retrieve mail from mailboxes. If mail is stuffed in the back of mailboxes, it really slows you down if you have to exit your vehicle. You may choose to invest in a retrieval hook, or even some type of handle that you can manipulate to drag the mail closer to you. This saves a lot of time.

Mark large parcels that you will need to take to the door. You may also choose to label these parcels and arrange them in order in your vehicle. This will save time while you are actually on your route.

You may also choose to arrange your parcels street by street, with each street assigned a box or bucket that you can keep parcels in.

If weather allows, try to keep your window open at all times. It makes the mail delivery much faster. You may consider modifying your personal vehicle with some type of wind or rain deflector which makes driving with an open window much more pleasant in colder weather.

Keep a towel in your vehicle or on your lap for rainy days. You may want to invest in some sort of raingear because when it rains, there is no way to avoid getting wet.

Get warm gloves with a strong grip for winter delivery. And it’s also a good idea to keep a warm beverage in your vehicle with you, since opening your window so often is going to keep your vehicle much colder than you’d like.

Invest in safety products. This may be a sticker warning other vehicles that you make frequent stops, or some type of light on the top of your vehicle. Your car will not be utilizing the road like the average car, so having some visual safety markers can help keep you safe.

Tips For Delivering Mail Faster

Are you new on the job and trying to figure out how older USPS employees finish their routes so quickly? Like most things, it simply takes practice. While a few tips from us can’t make you zip through your route, these tips will make your route easier and save you a bit of time.

The best thing you can do is ask for advice from your coworkers. They’ve been doing the job and will likely have tons of advice to offer. You may choose to simply ask for tips, or ask for more specific information. A better question to ask is to find out any locally relevant information. Find out if there’s anything you need to know about your route. Learning more about your route can save you a lot of time.

If you can’t get advice about your route, drive around the neighborhood to get a better idea of it during your time off. Familiarizing yourself with your route will make things much easier.

Delivering your mail will also go faster if you have it neat and organized. It makes mail delivery smoother and by extension, faster. There’s many ways you can choose to do this. Casing your mail is important, so take your time and make sure it is ready to go before you leave on your route.

Postal employees are delivering parcels more and more, so loading your packages in an efficient order can be a huge time saver. If you don’t do this, you’ll find yourself unloading parcels onto the street while looking for the ones you need. You’ll also want to do this before you leave on your route.

This one may seem obvious, but use your satchels. Yes, they may be heavy, but it saves you a lot of time to have your satchels with you instead of having to return to your vehicle multiple times, which will slow you down. Carry the mail in bulk in your satchel if you want to move faster.

Between stops you’ll also want to check the addresses of mail. Sorting the mail order beforehand helps you avoid backtracking. If you work on foot this is easy enough to do while doing deliveries. If you drive you have less time for this task, but it’s still possible.

You’ll also want either a map or GPS device to help you while on your route. Until you know your route well, there’s a good chance of you getting lost. Maps can sometimes be outdated, so it is up to you which you’d rather go with. Either way, some type of mapping device is extremely useful and will save you tons of time. But don’t use your phone while on your route beyond this, unless you need to call someone with a question. Distractions slow you down.

As you get to know your route, pay attention to streets that often have a higher volume of mail and parcels. Once you know this you can sort out the high volume streets to make it easier on yourself.

Remember that everyone does things differently, including sorting the mail and loading their vehicle. It will take some experimentation to find what works best for you.

Recognize The Signs of Heat Illness

We’re right in the middle of summer, which means hot temperatures and humidity. Even if you do everything you can to stay cool, heat illness can still happen. That’s why it is so important to know the signs of heat illnesses so that if you’re getting sick, you can take the proper measures before it gets too serious. We’ve outlined the symptoms you need to be aware of to stay safe in hot temperatures.

There are three different types of heat illnesses, and certain risk factors can make you more susceptible to any of them. Certain medications can increase your chances of heat illness, so if you’re on prescriptions it might be wise to check with your doctor. Obesity can affect your body’s ability to cool itself, so take extra care if your weight has been a problem for you. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the heat index, as higher humidity makes it harder to keep cool.

The first of the heat illnesses to pay attention to would be heat cramps. This is the least severe of heat illnesses you can experience. With heat cramps, you will experience muscle cramping and spasms due to sweating in high temperatures or due to heavy exercise. The symptoms are easy to notice. Muscles will become hard and tense, and you will have very painful cramps, typically in your calves. Your skin may also become flushed or moist. If you notice these symptoms, it is important that you move somewhere cool and take a break from your route. Gently stretch the muscles that are cramping and if possible, change clothes. Heat cramps usually do not require medical attention, but it’s a good idea to get in touch with your supervisor to seek advisement.

The next, more serious illness is heat exhaustion. This occurs due to a lack of water and salt in the body, meaning the body is unable to cool itself. Cramping will likely occur with this, but there’s more than that. When one is experiencing heat exhaustion they will likely be faced with nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headaches, and general weakness. You may become confused and dizzy. If this goes untreated it can lead to heat stroke, so it is important to take first aid measures immediately. First, get somewhere cool as quickly as you can. Excess clothing should be removed and you will need to take in fluids, preferably sports drinks. But if you don’t start to feel better, you need to get to the emergency rooms.

And of course, the most dangerous heat illness you can face is heat stroke. This means the body’s system is unable to provide heat regulation because it is overwhelmed. If you are experiencing the following symptoms you need to call 911 immediately. Your skin will feel warm and dry. Nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, and fatigue can all be present. You will have a fever of 104 degrees or more, and you will likely have a rapid heart rate. You may also experience convulsions and even a loss of consciousness. But you don’t want to wait for all of these symptoms before getting to a hospital. If you experience confusion, anxiety, a changed heartbeat, a rise in body temperature, a decrease or sharp increase in sweating, or convulsions, call 911 immediately. And if any of your other symptoms are not alleviated by moving somewhere cool, get to a hospital because heat stroke could be on its way.

Heat illness is nothing to mess around with. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, take the necessary steps to keep yourself safe.

Keep Cool With Postal Accessories

Summer is here and heat waves are starting across the country. While summer uniforms are important for staying cool, there’s more you can do to stay cool if you’re willing to spend a bit of your own money. Shop beyond Postal shorts, caps, and shirts to get the extras you’ll love.

Staying cool in summer can be tough. The bright sun, hot temperatures, and humidity are all working against you. There’s only so much you can do to combat this when you are away from air conditioning. These four products are simple, but extremely helpful when it comes to staying cool during those hot summer months.

Neck Cooling Wrap

Keeping your neck cool can go a long way in helping keep the rest of you cool. This neck cooling wrap works much better than a regular cloth. It can help to keep you cool for up to 72 hours without needing to be chilled. This lightweight wrap is made from 100% cotton. All you have to do is chill it in water or in the freezer before you head out to work.

This blue wrap’s color scheme allows it to easily mesh with the rest of your uniform. The wrap is thin, so you don’t have to deal with bulkiness the way you might have to with a typical cloth. This item is easy to transport, easy to use, and will easily keep you cooler throughout the day.

Bottle Clip

Staying hydrated while on your route is extremely important. If you are a rural letter carrier, you can’t only rely on keeping water in your vehicle. In fact, we recommend that letter carriers keep water with them at all times. That’s where this bottle clip comes in handy. It easily slides behind your belt so you can keep water with you at all times.

From here you can put the nozzle of your water bottle into the slot and push it forward to get a tight lock. This keeps your water secure so it won’t fall off as you walk. Keeping a bottle of cold water with you can do wonders for helping you stay cool.

Bandanna for Carrier Route

If you want more than a cooling wrap for your neck, this bandanna is perfect for you. This cooling bandana can be worn by itself or under your hat to keep your head cool and comfortable throughout your route. How it works is simple; just soak this bandana for 7-9 minutes and you’ll have a bandana that is cool for up to 72 hours.

Wearing this cooling bandana will keep you cool and reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and other heat related illnesses. This small, comfortable bandana, like the neck cooling wrap, is easy to transport and use, making it a great option for the summer.

USPS Bandana

This economic bandana is not designed to stay cool all day, but it will still help you keep cool while you work in the hot sun. This simple bandana measures 22” x 22”. Wear it while on your route to shield you from the sun. Keeping the sun off of your head can go a remarkably long way when it comes to keeping you cool.

The Postal logo is imprinted in the corner of the bandana, making it fit in perfectly with the rest of your USPS uniform. The white color also won’t soak in the sun’s rays!

Tips For New Letter Carriers

Maybe you’ve just been hired as a full time letter carrier, or maybe you’re starting off as a CCA. No matter the circumstance, starting a new job is always stressful, especially when you’re carrying the mail. We’ve got some tips for new employees that will help you get situated at your new job.

Stick with it. The job is going to be much harder than you are expecting. You will be faced with high expectations, bad weather, rude customers, dogs, confusing routes, and more. It would be easy to give up, but if you stick with the job, you will eventually get used to all of these things. You’ll learn how to deal with the weather and dogs, ignore rude customers, and your routes will become less confusing. This is something that simply comes from experience.

Don’t complain. If you are new to the work, it is likely you will want to complain quite a lot, about how exhausting the job is, the dogs you have to watch for, and the weather. But your new co-workers have gone through it all before, and deal with it on a daily basis. Just remember this was part of the package when you accepted the job. Having a good attitude about it can make your time working much more pleasant.

Take extra care when delivering in darkness. There are many dangers that come with night delivery, and you will likely face them. The most dangerous thing you have to watch out for is injury due to a lack of visibility. This may be because you fail to see obstacles or obstacles, such as vehicles, fail to see you. Be very careful when walking across lawns, on stairs, and in the street. While attacks on letter carriers are not common, criminal activity is more likely to occur at night, so be cautious.

Take extra care if you work in an area with high crime. An attack on you would be a federal offense. Just because you work in a high crime area doesn’t mean you are going to be attacked. But you could be targeted for mail, packages, or even your vehicle. Park your vehicle in a high traffic area, and keep it locked. Just keep your eyes open for suspicious behavior. Don’t be afraid to report it if you feel unsafe.

Remember you do not have to deliver the mail if it is not safe. If there is ice on the stairs, a loose dog running around, or other hazardous conditions, you should not risk injury to deliver the mail. Fill out the appropriate paperwork to indicate the problem.

Take care of yourself in all types of weather. We’re sure you’ve already looked for advice about delivering mail in the rain or snow, but don’t forget about other types of weather. Working in the sun all day doesn’t have the potential to lead only to sunburn, but skin cancer. Take care to apply sunscreen, and take other precautions as necessary to stay safe in all types of conditions.

These are just a few tips to help prepare you for your new career. We hope that we’re able to help, and that you find the job to be fulfilling and rewarding!

Everything You Need to Know About Dog Bites

You’ve of course been warned about the danger of dog bites while on the job, but since National Dog Bite Awareness Week has just passed, we thought we’d give you some facts and tips about dealing with dogs.

The first thing to remember while you’re out working is that any dog is capable of biting. Maybe it’s a tiny, furry puppy, a large, angry dog, or a dog that has been friendly with you before. Never forget that any dog can bite, and so be wary whenever you see dogs on your route.

The next thing to keep in mind is that no matter the injury, it needs to be reported and you need to be checked out. Maybe the dog barely nicked your skin, and maybe it actually attacked you. No matter the case, you have to be safe and get the bite looked at. Thousands of people are bitten by dogs each year, though luckily only a small amount of those people die because of it. Be safe, and get the bite checked if you get one.

Of course the goal is to not get any dog bites, so how do you do this? Well you’ll want to stay away from any dogs you see. Be aware. Listen for any unusual growling. Keep an eye on fences in yards. Even dogs on leashes can be dangerous so be sure to be cautious.

If a dog does start to approach, stay still and quiet. Running away or yelling is only going to rile the dog up. Back away slowly and keep an eye on the dog to see if it follows. If it attacks, your best defense is to fend it off with your mail satchel. Keep it between you and the dog as much as you can. You can of course use dog repellant, but try to get the bag in front of you first. It gives more protection in case you miss the dog.

And if the dog does get you on the ground, protect your head and neck. Curling into a ball gives the dog less places to bite.

Don’t forget that if you feel threatened by a dog on a property, you do not have to deliver the mail to said property. The owner of the dog can pick up mail at the post office until it is guaranteed the dog is kept somewhere where it cannot attack. If the dog is regularly unleashed, you can even stop delivering to the area altogether. Your safety is your top priority.

6,755 postal employees were attacked by dogs this year. That number has continued to rise throughout the years, making it even more important now to stay vigilant.  If you’re still worried about dog bites, check to see if there’s any training in your area, or ask your supervisor and other letter carriers for additional tips.

If you want something with you in case of an attack, check out our letter carrier safety products on our website!




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