Avoiding heat-related illnesses while working outside

Working in dangerous heat.

No matter the forecast, people must report to work outdoors.

On Friday, we found Patrick Adams filling potholes along Dorset Street in South Burlington. The blazing hot sun didn’t stop him and his crew from the city’s Department of Public Works.

Adams takes the threat of excessive heat seriously.

“Making sure that we are all hydrated. We took an extra five-minute break, just to get some water and cool down a little bit we sat in the shade for a couple minutes,” Adams said.

The key really is taking multiple breaks.

“We have a lot to be concerned about as far as personal health. Things like heat exhaustion and even heat stroke,” said Prescott Nadeau, a senior firefighter with the Williston Fire Department.

Nadeau explains the calls start to come in when the temperature reaches 80°F.

And Adams has seen the consequences first hand, “It’s not a pleasant sight. The person goes through a lot of pain and injury.”

The second key take away is, to stay hydrated. Nadeau explains first responders aren’t immune to heat-related illnesses.

“When one of our own is injured, especially in a heat-related illness because they happen quite frequently in our job, it adds a different level of stress,” said Nadeau.

In order to keep those first responders safe, a rehabilitation process is used to ensure them.

“As soon as they come out of a burning building they are sent to rehab to be able to take a break, get some water and relax for a few minutes before they go back in again,” said Nadeau.

Rest, hydrate, and seek plenty of shade in order to escape the threat of heat-related illnesses.

As for more information on how to stay cool, the Vermont Department of Health has provided this information.

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