Outside Workers Beating the Heat - WSET.com - ABC13

Outside Workers Beating the Heat

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Reporter: Rachel Schaerr | Videographer: Ira Quillen

Lynchburg, VA - Some workers in the Hill City were trapped outside in the sweltering heat as temperatures topped out at the mid '90s. And that had several outdoor workers putting their heat exhaustion prevention plans in place.

When the heat index climbs to 90 degrees or more, so do the dangers. But for crews on Candler's Mountain Road, the work must go on.

"It's got to go rain or shine, we're out here working," said Ronnie Martin.

On day two of Central Virginia's first heat wave of the summer-- they brought back some old tricks of the trade: drinking salt water, carrying wet rags and wearing light-colored clothing.

Officials with the Central Virginia Health district say you have to give your body time to acclimate to the hot weather.

"It has to get used to being in this sort of temperature," said Leslie Hoglund.

A VDOT spokesperson says they haven't had any employees in Central Virginia treated for heat exhaustion in the last few days. But across the country, thousands are hospitalized every year.

Most at risk are people who work outside during prime daylight hours, like construction workers, road crews, gardeners, farmers - even people going out for a mid-day jog.

Asphalt work can be especially dangerous under the sweltering sun.

"You have the black that is absorbing more and more of the sun and more and more of the heat," said Paula Jones, spokesperson for VDOT.

Health officials recommend crews use the buddy system to look for signs of confusion, feeling light-headed, or nausea.

They're just some signs of heat exhaustion Ronnie Martin's trained to look out for.

"When I get home, I take a shower and go to bed!"Martin said, chuckling.

Instead of heating assistance, the state is providing cooling assistance. Now through August 15, you can apply at the social services department near you. You can use the money to buy a portable or installed fan, install an air conditioner or help pay for your electric bill.

Get more information on how to apply for the Cooling Assistance program.

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