Outdoor workers sweat through summer's swelter

Posted August 12, 2010

— For roofers, emergency personnel and others who must work outside the air-conditioned comfort of a cubicle, the weather is the ultimate boss on hot August afternoons.

The heat sets the schedule, and those who don't respect it can end up on a stretcher.

Jeffrey Hammerstein was among members of the Wake County Emergency Management Service working through an emergency training drill Thursday at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Firefighters, paramedics and National Guard troops sweated through the two-hour drill.

Workers take precautions in hot weather Workers take precautions in hot weather

"It's definitely hot enough," Hammerstein said. "We can stand more. We're prepared, so if it gets hot, we'll roll with it."

Compared to the heat of battling a fire, Capt. Todd Lewis of Morrisville Fire Department said, the exercise was almost a breeze.

Firefighters got to wear T-shirts. When they are bulked up in uniform, Lewis said, "We just work short durations at a time, and we make sure we have a rehab unit set up in place."

Those who know the heat are careful to take breaks and stay hydrated.

"A lot of water, a lot of Gatorade," said Larry Walls, a roofer.

Walls tries to avoid working during the hottest part of the day.

"About 1 or 2 o'clock, we're trying to be off the roof," he said. He and his crews from Walls Roofing in Raleigh begin their work day as early as 5:30 a.m., he said, "if the neighbors don't mind."

His work in the morning hours left him with blisters on his feet, right through his shoes.

"I've learned that thick-soled tennis shoes work very well," he said.

"If it's 100 degrees out here, and you've got a heat index of 105, 110, it's probably 130, 140 degrees up on the roof," he said.


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  • meBNme Aug 13, 2010

    yeah, Ive been on a roof in 105 degree heat with 138 to 142 temps on the roof. I still say that AC guys have it worse when you have to enter attics on those same days that are 160+ degree's and absolutely NO breeze whatsoever.

    Temps like that will litterally take your breath away as you enter the attic. I would wear two t-shirts and soak them down with water almost to the point of dripping, within ten min of entering the attic, the shirts were dry and and you were feeling sighns of heat fatigue.

  • Made In USA Aug 12, 2010

    Things are picking up nicely t work for me at work. Had (3) 40-hr work-weeks in a row...first full weeks of work since January 09. I have to work in this heat though, and it has been brutal.

  • mamabearprotectinghercub Aug 12, 2010

    They need to be careful. I hope that no one will get sick, they have a very hard job at this time of the year.

  • Adelinthe Aug 12, 2010

    Bless their hearts.

    It didn't get as hot today as was expected though, did it?

    God bless.