Heat Affects Safety Of People Working Outside


By Catalina Trivino

It's been a hot start to our summer... and while we all have to deal with the heat, some people have to deal with it more than others.

Temperatures are reaching nearly triple digits, making it almost unbareable to be outside for a few minutes without breaking a sweat. So how do people who work in the warm weather beat the heat?

The grass still has to be cut and buildings still have to be built... despite the extreme heat.

This time last year, temperatures reached only 89 degrees. On Thursday, the thermometer read 96 degrees -- but factor in the humidity and it feels like 103 degrees -- the highest the heat index has read this year.

Barry Winstanley works in construction and this isn't his first summer wiping off the sweat, so he knows this is only the beginning of several long hot months.

"It's extremely hot. It's getting hotter everyday, you know, I'm sure with the way it's going, it's going to be scorching here in the next few months," Said Winstanley.

Empty water bottles are scattered across the worksite by 10 a.m. and that's how you know water consumption is a must.

Tim Grayson agrees -- he says that's his trick to beating the unbareable heat while mowing lawns.

"You've got to keep the water in your system. I mean it's nothing else. Sodas? I drink maybe one soda every morning, but the water, I drink maybe three or four cases in a week and stay hydrated. That's the key to it," Said Grayson.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reports extreme heat causes 658 deaths a year in the nation -- that's more than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning combined.

But Winstanley says he and his crew take preventative measures so they're not part of that statistic.

"[We] sit down and drink a few... take a break and drink some water and rest a few minutes, yes, but not literally pass out," Said Winstanley.

The National Weather service has issued a heat advisory in parts of Alabama, but the good news is this weekend's cold front should knock out some of that humidity for a couple of days.

To prevent heat exhaustion, fire officials recommend pre-hydrating with a drink with electrolytes. They also recommend drinking two cups of water each hour while you're working.