SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are looking at the possibility of using letter carriers to help identify at-risk residents and damaged buildings in a disaster.

No one is more familiar with neighborhoods and communities than postal workers, said Senate Minority Whip Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City.

“Letter carriers can assist first responders with the kind of information necessary to protect people in affected areas," she said.

Mayne's bill, SB57, calls for the state Division of Emergency Management to discuss with the U.S. Postal Service the feasibility of using its employees in declared disasters. She said Utah would be the first state to reach such an agreement with the postal service.

The local letter carriers association and postal workers union support the bill, as does Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, whose congressional committee oversees the Postal Service.

The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee unanimously approved the bill Wednesday.

— Dennis Romboy