Columbia workers look for solutions as weather heats up

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COLUMBIA – With the weather getting hotter and hotter, workers in Columbia are finding ways to combat the heat and the dangers it brings.

According to the NOAA Weather Service, the 10-year average of heat related deaths was 97 people from 2007 to 2016. Some of the most common heat related illnesses are heat exhaustion and heat strokes. Some of the signs of heat related injuries include muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness and more.

Assistant Fire Chief Brad Fraizer said that it is especially hard for firefighters to avoid heat exhaustion during the summer months.

“If you’re not staying hydrated in these types of environments, it can sneak up on you and you might not realize it,” he said.

Although the gear protects them from extreme heat and fire, Fraizer said it doesn't come without consequences.

"It does protect us from heat and fire but that comes with a price," he said. "There’s a pay off or a trade off rather for that."

Fraizer said the team makes sure to keep an eye on each other when the weather gets too hot.

“It’s kind of a group effort,” he said. “We watch out for each other, we take precautions, for example we keep cold water on all of our fire trucks.”

Chris Spurgeon, a worker with Brady Brothers Glass, said he and his team also make sure to stay hydrated while working on construction in the heat.

“Water is a big key,” he said. “Take a break if you need to. Be cautious of the signs of heat exhaustion.”

Spurgeon also said the key to working through the heat is staying focused.

"Just adapt to the heat and make sure that you stay focused," he said. "You can get hurt really quick out here. And just staying focused in this heat is a very important factor of just working out here whenever it does get this hot." 

Eric Stann, the Community Relations Specialist at the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, said workers and locals should take breaks when outside in the heat.

“Take frequent breaks in an air conditioned area or a cool place if they can,” he said. “And make sure they wear loose fitting clothes if possible.”