BROOKLYN - A new U.S. Postal Service program aims to help mail carriers get assistance to vulnerable residents who may otherwise go without the help that they need.
The Carriers Alert Reporting Emergency Services, or CARES, pilot program is being rolled out in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. When mail carriers see something amiss at a residence on their route, they will be able to call 311 and then be immediately patched through to appropriate agencies.
Officials made the announcement Thursday, saying that the program will help eliminate red tape when trying to figure out which agency to call and eliminate mail carriers being placed on hold.
Mail carrier Ronald Oree helped save a senior who had fallen and was stuck in her house. He realized something was wrong because the woman hadn't answered her door for a couple of days, which was unlike her.
Oree asked around the neighborhood in order to get the woman's relative to come open the door. He says he is glad that there is now a clear option if a similar situation arises.
"This is what we've been doing, but now carriers have a head's up," says Oree, who says he sees himself as the eyes on the ground on behalf of USPS.
Officials stress that 911 remains the best call to make in the event of a dangerous situation.