Heat Warning

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

"When you pressure wash you get water and it cools you off," said Jimmy Meehan of Sootbuster, Inc., who usually sweeps chimneys. With the temperatures rising, he's using his common sense and staying on the ground.

"If you feel dizzy, if you get tired, if you're sweating out every pore in your body, then you need to take a break and get some water," said Meehan.

He knows the signs of heat exhaustion and if you're going to be out in the heat, you should, too.

According to the Center for Disease Control, sweating, paleness, cramps, weakness and fainting are all signs of heat exhaustion. If you stay out longer, heat stroke could be an issue. Those symptoms include rapid pulse, a body temperature higher than 103, dizziness and confusion. Heat stroke can ultimately lead to death.

"I got a little dizzy last summer and i just stopped, didn't do anything for about 20-minutes," added Meehan. "You don't want to be on a roof especially because bad things can happen."

In the town of Bridgewater, flexible hours and lots of breaks help workers beat the heat.

"It's pretty tough," said Patrick Puffenbarger, a construction foreman for the town of Bridgewater. "We try to be as productive as we can in the morning hours and try to manage our workload to do some of our easier tasks in the afternoon."

Puffenbarger says his workers also get a crash course in heat illness. "We usually have a little refresher course on the signs and symptoms of heat stress and we try to keep an eye on some of our older employees to be sure nobody's out working by themselves." He adds that even then, some problems still occur. "We've had people get exhausted from the heat. They get sick, dehydrated. So it's happened. It's something we keep an eye on and we take it very serious."

So what's the best advice these outdoor workers can give? "If you don't have to be in it, stay out of it."


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