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Outside workers battle extreme temperatures hitting CSRA

News 12 First at Five / July 12, 2011

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the local area Tuesday -- meaning it could feel like 110 degrees or more.

For people who work outside all day, these temperatures can be brutal.

However, this extreme heat is nothing new for construction worker Chris Satterfield.

"It doesn't get any easier -- there is no way to beat it -- you can try to take it easy every chance you get," he said.

Construction workers are widening a portion of Highway 25 in Edgefield County this week and working with hot asphalt raises the temperatures to more than 200 degrees.

"We try to take extra breaks, get in the air conditioning for short periods of time," Satterfield said. "You don't want to get in the AC for too long and then get right back out. More or less, you just try to stay in the shade as much as possible, but out here, there isn't a whole lot of shade."

Satterfield has worked in construction for eight years and has learned the best ways to stay cool.

"You don't want to drink too much water too fast, you just want to sip on it; in fact don't dump cold water on your head, you'll lay out cold in the road, you are going to pass out with how hot it is," he said.

While some people have to work in the heat today, some are a bit luckier, like Melissa Jenkins who works at an ice cream shop.

"It is a relief -- you just open the door and the cool air hits you with the smell of waffle cones and ice cream and you think, 'I am thankful to be inside,'" she said.

Jenkins has also been busy: As temperatures go up, so does business, meaning she's got to work faster.

Meanwhile, Satterfield's having to take it slower. It's day two of this project, so he'll have to keep sweating it out until it's done.

It's not just uncomfortable for him and other people who work outside, it's dangerous.

Aiken Regional Medical Center reports over the past month, an average of two people a week have been hospitalized because of the heat.

And don't forget to protect yourself. Here are some things the American Red Cross suggests:

  • Stay hydrated.

  • Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing

  • Take breaks often.

  • If possible, avoid being out during the hottest part of the day.
  • All this sounds so simple -- but it can make all the difference.

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