Heat wave tests people of Putnam County

Friday, June 10, 2011
Lifeguard Luke Smith braves the heat Wednesday afternoon as he surveys the pool. Smith, along with the other lifeguards, has to constantly be aware of his own safety while being out in the sun, as well as looking out for others.

With the temperatures reaching 93 degrees and beyond this past week, many people sought the shelter of shade and air conditioning. Some people, however, are not so fortunate since their jobs require them to be out in the elements.

Construction workers on Percy L. Julian Drive alongside the Greencastle McDonald's were some of the men out braving the heat. When asked how they handle the extreme temperatures, Jesse Murrell said, "You drink a lot of water, and don't try to kill yourself."

Workers take short breaks and fuel up on water regularly. The men also slow their pace, so as not to overheat themselves. Murrell said new guys will have trouble adjusting to the heat, but once they become more experienced, they will be able to push themselves more and know their limits.

Many people have also been flocking to the Greencastle Aquatic Center to cool off. Lifeguards patrol the sides of the pool, while others are perched high in their chairs observing from above. Many sport sunglasses to protect their eyes from the harmful rays. Others apply sunscreen, or keep damp shirts on to keep cool and keep from burning. Umbrellas are also available to guards stationed in the chair towers to help shield them from the sun.

The lifeguards are given breaks throughout their shift, where they are allowed to hydrate and cool off in the water.

Lifeguard Tayler Arnold said it was important for him and the other guards to do the best they could to stay cool.

"We need to keep cool so we can stay concentrated on our work and see that no one gets hurt, and we can react to a dangerous situation in a reasonable amount of time," Arnold said.

Laura Roach and other members of the United States Postal Service also make daily rounds on foot or by mail car making sure that everyone gets their mail on time. Mail carriers try to drink plenty of water and eat regularly in order to continue their rounds in heat. Many wear sunscreen, visors and sunglasses to help defend themselves from the elements.

Roach said it was important for them to make their daily rounds, no matter what the weather brings.

"You have to be out and make your rounds in a timely manner," she said. Roach also mentioned that on these hot days, you need to slow down and not rush.

Jack Scanland of Jack's Trash Service spends many a hot day cruising streets in his trash truck without ar conditioning. Scanland, like many of the other workers, regularly keeps hydrated with water and Gatorade. For Scanland, afternoon between 12:30-2 p.m., is definitely the worst part of the day.

"That's when you really slow down," he said. "The closer you get to the end though, the more you're able to pick up the pace.

"The goal," Scanland said, "is to give the people the service they pay for. They like to see you show up at the same time whenever you pick up their trash."

Scanland also mentioned, though, that people are much more understanding during the summer months. They understand that the conditions are in no way ideal for his difficult job.

And while it may be hot for these workers and all of Putnam County now, we had probably better get used to it. It is only the beginning of what promises to be another long, hot Indiana summer.

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  • Just thinking about the recently closed "kiddie pool" area at the Greencastle Aquatic Center.

    Wouldn't it be nice for the Putnam County Foundation to step up and grant money to the GAC to make the necessary emergency repairs and replacement in order for it to reopen as soon as possible. What about this Director Elaine Peck?

    -- Posted by Lookout on Fri, Jun 10, 2011, at 8:48 AM
  • Or, we could have them spend the grant on something more productive than an ignorant ramp into the kiddie pool that is only an ADA mandate, not necessarily a community need. Scrap the kiddie pool, and build the spray park at Robe-Ann with money that would have been used on the kid pool. I'm sure that will be handicap accessible.

    -- Posted by anonymous101 on Fri, Jun 10, 2011, at 3:01 PM
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