People with outdoor jobs give cold weather tips

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COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia cancelled residential garbage collections Tuesday due to extreme cold temperatures, but that doesn't mean they had the day off.

Employees still ran commercial trash and landfill routes, and some workers were sent to assist at the recycling facility.

Steve Hunt, solid waste utility manager, said, "Being out, exposed to that kind of temperature, is very high risk of frostbite and then personal danger to our employees."

Hunt did indicate that they do not have a "hard and fast policy" for determining when to suspend collections.

Residential collections will resume Wednesday, but people who get their trash picked up Monday will still have to wait until the following week.

On the other hand, postal service workers still had to go out to deliver mail in residential areas.

Jim Maher, postmaster, said, "The mail's got to go through. Cold is tough, but it's part of the job."

They wear numerous layers of clothing and protect their feet and hands.

Mail carrier Ken Pittman said he's sure to cover his chest, feet and head.

"That keeps your extremities warmer. That allows you to retain body heat. And good shoes. Shoes are important."

Both entities mention the difficulty of navigating through streets that haven't been properly cleared off.

The post office very rarely takes a day off. However, the district safety office and district manager make that call. According to Maher, the last time this happened was more than 20 years ago.