LUBBOCK, TX - It's not quite triple-digit heat in Lubbock, but it's still very hot. No one knows more about that than postal workers who brave hot weather 6 days a week to deliver our mail.
"About 85 percent to 90 percent is walking," says Matt Kuss, a USPS mail carrier.
Kuss says walking is something he does for up to 6 hours a day.
"You think you're in shape when you start up here and you go walk 8 or 9 or 10 miles a day...that's tough," he says.
In order to survive the heat, Kuss takes a lot of precautions.
"Stay in the shade as much as you can, walk under trees, keep plenty of water on hand, and take breaks if you start feeling heat exhausted," he says.
Water is a key component to staying healthy.
"I go through at least a gallon a day," Kuss says.
He says his job is definitely more exhausting during the summer months, but starting the day early is a big help.
"If we get the mail to them earlier, they can get out in the street earlier and be done just a little quicker. Normally, they used to come in around 8 o'clock. Now we bring them in about 6:30 a.m. or 7 a.m. If we bring them in early, they get out on the streets earlier, and are definitely off by about 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. when it is still warm, but not as hot as it's going to be at 5 o'clock," says D'Angelo Valderaz, USPS customer service manager.
Kuss is also encouraged to eat light foods before his shift.
"If you start eating something that's heavy, it weighs on you. You slow down and it affects you out there on the streets," Valderaz says.
The end goal of delivering all the mail is what gets Kuss through the day.
"Your body does get used to it, but there's only so much that your body can take. It gets used to being out here at 100 degrees, but when it gets to be 105 degrees, those 5 degrees can wear on you," Valderaz says.
"In the summer I prefer winter, and in the winter I prefer summer," Kuss says.
Valderaz and Kuss both say it can actually be cooler outside the mail vehicle, since the cars do not offer air conditioning, only a small fan.
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