Heat Wave

The heat wave during the past few weeks in the Marion County area has been especially difficult for those who work outdoors. Here, Mohawk construction workers Jay Tennant, Broc Doran and Brian Dunn fasten rebar together, making what is called a case that is lowered into the ground for support. The three, who are members of the Iron Workers Local 549, are busy working to complete the widening of Interstate 79 in the Pleasant Valley area.

With local temperatures exceeding the 90-degree mark during the last few weeks, there is no denying the fact that there was a considerable heat wave sweeping the area.

However, as a slightly colder front begins to make its way across the country with temperatures in Fairmont expected to hit no higher than 82 today, it looks as though things may finally be cooling down and giving heat sufferers a little relief. Especially those who felt it the most while the heat wave was

going on.

During the last few hot weeks, as most people flocked to air-conditioned quarters to get relief from the sizzling summer conditions, there were some unfortunate individuals who were still forced to sweat it out for their occupations.

For example, many area construction workers braved the sweltering heat everyday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., sometimes with little to no shade, due to strict project completion deadlines.

According to local Mohawk construction employee Broc Doran, who is one of several workers completing the widening of Interstate 79 near Pleasant Valley Road, keeping hydrated and taking frequent breaks are the most important things while working in the heat.

“We try to keep plenty of water and Gatorade, and rest up every night as much as we can,” he said.

This summer is Doran’s third working construction, and although he admitted that the temperatures may be a little more extreme this year, he said that working in the heat is always a challenge.

“There have been a couple of weeks where it seems like it’s been hotter, but it’s usually about the same,” he said. “The work is definitely harder (in the summer) because we take breaks for water.”

Across town on 10th Street, workers from Yarborough Construction work the same hours outside each day building the new middle school. And according to company employee Danny Phillips, these workers do the same types of things to keep from suffering during the hottest weeks.

“Everybody complains it’s hot, but it’s pretty much normal,” said Phillips, who has been in the construction business for 17 years. “We just make sure the guys stay hydrated. We keep water jugs set up in different areas and try to get the guys in out of the sun at break time and lunch time. ”

According to statistics from a national weather information Web site, in a normal year, approximately 175 Americans succumb to the demands of summer each season as a result of common heat-induced ailments such as sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Despite how hot it’s been, though, in addition to the humidity stacking up with the temperature to create an even more uncomfortable environment to be out in, both sets of local workers said they have been fortunate and not experienced any health problems as a result of the heat.

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