WORKING IN THE HEAT
Some of us at our jobs can beat the heat by staying inside, but other jobs require hard work outside and hot days cause a lot of concern. Like the job Bret Paulk and his crew are doing. They’re prepping a new taxiway at Brookley Field. At the best of times this is hard work, but when the temps sizzle it can be dangerous if the workers aren’t careful.
“It’s tough working conditions. It takes a lot to get acclimated,” Paulk said. “We take a lot of breaks throughout the day. Every supervisor has a water cooler. We have ice water.”
TRAINED TO DEAL
Supervisor Stephanie Weaver said the crew with H.O. Weaver construction has received training on what to watch out for when they start to overheat.
“Our guys know the warning signs to look for. They know how to prevent it. They know what to do in case of an emergency,” Weaver said.
“If they’re confused,if they’re dizzy, if they’re nauseated. Signs like that is what we tend to look for,” Paulk explained.
They even single out the new guys for extra scrutiny.
“We have our guys who are newer wearing safety vests that are different colors than our veterans so that we can watch them more carefully and closely and make sure that they’re safe,” Weaver said.
But no matter how hot it gets the work must go on, they just try to do it as safely as possible.
HEAT INDEX: 105°+
This extreme heat is dangerous for a number of reasons. For those working outside frequent breaks are vital to rehydrate and cool off. Parked cars can become unbearbly hot in minutes, even with windows rolled down. Heat exhaustion, and heat stroke can strike anyone who spends too much time in the heat and can be fatal if not treated.
HEAT EXHAUSTION/HEAT STROKE: KNOW THE SIGNS
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms:
Cool, pale, clammy skin
Possible muscle cramps
Nausea and vomiting
First Aid for Heat Exhaustion:
Move person to a cooler environment
Remove or loosen clothing
Apply cool, wet cloths
Fan or move victim to air conditioned room
Offer sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
Heat Stroke Symptoms:
Altered mental state
Possible throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing
High body temperature (106°F or higher)
Skin may be hot and dry, or patient may be sweating
First Aid for Heat Stroke:
Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment
Reduce body temperature with a water mister and fan or sponging
Do NOT give fluids