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Tips on how to remain cool when working in extreme heat

From building bridges, to washing our cars, to helping us when we overheat. Plenty of jobs require time outside and can put people out in this heat for hours at a time.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:58 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – As the heat continues to rise, many workers are outside for several hours at a time working.

Pvt. Sterling Rahe with Toledo Fire told 13abc that it is important to be mindful of your daily habits when dealing with extreme heat.

“The key is to stay hydrated, stay out of the heat, stay out of direct sunlight if you can,” Pvt. Rahe said.

That’s advice for you if you don’t work outside. But if you do? Hydration is your best defense against the heat.

“That starts long before we get these hot days,” Pvt. Rahe said, suggesting that firefighters are encouraged to start upping their water intake as soon as extreme heat is forecast.

But for firefighters specifically, the nature of the job itself is working against them.

Pvt. Rahe explained how even the gear can raise some issues.

“The gear that firefighters wear is thermal-barrier and moisture-barrier protective. That keeps all that heat inside. It doesn’t wick it off, when you sweat, it’s contained inside. It can be grueling, but we do take steps on the department,” he said.

One of those steps: switching out crews to give firefighters a break. That’s how construction workers battle the heat too. And they find other creative ways to stay cool.

Kelsie Hoagland, a spokesperson for ODOT District 2, said cooling towels can provide relief.

“We supply cooling towels, pour your cold water on there, and put it around your neck to cool down a little bit,” she said.

But for these workers, it’s not just the heat in the air they have to worry about.

“We have over a dozen resurfacing projects going on in northwest Ohio right now. Pavement temperatures are at least 20 degrees hotter than the air temperature,” Hoagland said.

And while they’re not in the sun for the entire day, workers at a local car wash are on their feet. So, They’re watching for signs that they’re overheated.

Caiden Maize, an employee of the local car wash, told 13abc that he " definitely sweats”.

“I don’t like to sweat that much, so if I feel like I’m sweating a lot, I’ll just grab a bottle of water and drink it,” Maize said.

When the weather turns hot like this, a number of companies told 13abc that a useful way to beat the heat is getting their workers out as early in the morning as possible to get done before the hottest part of the day.

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