THE HEAT IS ONPublished 12:00am Wednesday, July 2, 2014
With temperatures expected to exceed 100 degrees today, locals are finding many ways of keeping cool during the dog days of this summer. But for some residents, being out in the heat is a must.
Mike Bowlan, operations manager for the Andalusia water/sewer department, said workers on his crews are instructed to put safety first while in the field.
“Staying hydrated is really important,” Bowlan said. “They take plenty of breaks. Heat exhaustion is something they have to look out for. They just watch out for each other.”
Bowlan said the heat is especially a concern for crews working in more metropolitan areas, while workers sent into more rural zones have their own set of seasonal issues to deal with.
“Those guys that are working around asphalt have to really be careful; it gets really hot around that,” Bowlan said. “They also have to have some protections from the insects, especially wasps. Those guys working out in other parts are watching for snakes, because they’re out moving (this time of year).”
Supervisor Tommy Hutto, whose crew was doing asphalt work Tuesday on Ammons Street, said he is constantly keeping tabs on his workers’ conditions.
“We’ve got plenty of water and Gatorade packs,” Hutto said. “And we don’t push them. If they get hot, they know where the shade is.”
But while the heat is amplified on jobs like Tuesday’s asphalt work, Hutto said it also causes roadways to be a bit more malleable and easier to work on.
“The heat softens it up a little, so it’s easier to cut when we’re out here working on water lines or something like that,” he said.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), temperatures reached 98 degrees in Andalusia Tuesday with a heat index of 105 degrees. Today’s forecast calls for a high of 100 degrees.