Carrier Alert Launched by City, Postal Service to Aid Electric Customers
Program Designed Primarily for the Elderly and Disabled Who Live Alone
March 14, 2009
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By: Dave Rogers
The Carrier Alert Program trains United States Postal Service letter carriers to identify signs of distress among seniors and people with disabilities.
Area residents who are customers of the Bay City Electric Light & Power Department now have another lifeline.
A letter from City Manager Robert V. Belleman and Julie E. Jacobsen, Bay City Postmaster, announced the program on March 2.
"The Carrier Alert Program trains United States Postal Service letter carriers to identify signs of distress among seniors and people with disabilities," wrote the officials.
"The program, which triggers the use of 9-1-1 when signs of distress are identified, provides seniors and people with disabilities with a special identification sticker to be placed inside their mailbox."
The program is in response to the death of Marvin E. Schur, 92 year old Bay City resident, who died Jan. 17 from hypothermia in his home. The death, that received nationwide media attention, may have been prevented had a program like Carrier Alert been in place.
Mr. Schur, a retired foundry worker and childless widower, had been a medic in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was known as "Mutts" to neighbors and friends.
"Through this partnership, seniors and people with disabilities can participate in an innovative program that will offer a new connection to the community while providing assurance that they will not be forgotten," said the letter from Mr. Belleman and Ms. Jacobsen.
Registrants with the Carrier Alert Program must sign a statement of understanding and release of liability to be included in the program.
The program is summarized: "The United States Postal Service may, when there appears to be an accumulation of mail in my mailbox, inform a law enforcement officer for such action as the latter may consider to be appropriate under the new program."
Registrants are expected to notify the Postal Service by written communication if they intend to be away for more than one day when mail is delivered.
The program is a partnership with the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers union to provide a community service to those who are the most isolated residents.
Bay City residents who are disabled or 62 years of age or older may enroll in this free program by completing a registration form and a statement of understanding. Both the form and the statement are sent to the Bay City Accounts Receivable Department. City staff will verify the information and notify the Postmaster of the enrollment. A "Carrier Alert" symbol is then placed on the inside of the mailbox. The symbol is to be covered if the resident is to be away for more than one day.
Participants in the Carrier Alert Program are asked to notify the City of Bay City at 894-8104 if you change your emergency contact person, move or choose to discontinue the Carrier Alert Program.
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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