Working Outside Air Conditioning: Working Outdoors in the Heatwave

By: Alex Nowak
By: Alex Nowak

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- With temperatures reaching up to a hundred degrees two days in a row, staying out in the heat can be a dangerous proposition. But for some it can't be avoided.

"It’s too hot," Jeff Phelps said.

Phelps hauls waste containers for Rock Disposal and says in hot weather staying cool is a constant goal.

“All I can say is, thank God for air conditioned trucks," he said.

Much of his time is spent inside the truck driving, but when he gets into the heat he definitely feels it.

"It drains you. We're trying to drink plenty of water and keep hydrated and trying to pace ourselves to stay as cool as we can, I guess."

As a garbage collector for Rock River Disposal, Chad Houtz is outside for hours at a time as the temperatures rise.

Houtz said, "For some reason it gets a little heavier for garbage when it gets hot out. But, you learn to deal with it, and just take care of yourself."

Heat this intense can be extremely dangerous, especially if you're not prepared for it.

"Six weeks ago, we had that first 90 degree day, and body wasn't used to it. Started cramping up a little bit."

Despite dramatic temperatures, both Phelps and Houtz agree that they'd rather work in the summer than the winter.

"It's better than driving on icy roads, so the heat you can deal because you can find a shade tree or something to get out of the heat. The ice you can't avoid."

Houtz says the thanks he gets from customers and even cold water and snacks sometimes makes it all worth it.

In addition to drinking lots of water, experts urge you to take frequent short breaks to beat the heat.

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  • by Karen Location: Belvidere on Jul 20, 2011 at 04:09 PM
    I think it is time to design if not already designed, Air Conditioned Suits for hard outside workers. Just too hot... or have a pool of water and plenty of sunscreen lotion. God bless hard working outside workers today. Start early if it is cool and break when too hot start again at hour when it is cool enough. It's Bad enough with no air conditioning in some homes. God Bless Everyone!
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