KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — When the temperatures get high, most of us seek shelter indoors, but not everyone has that luxury.

From landscapers to utility workers, a lot of people work outside in the elements.

“Got here about six or so, we’ll probably work till about seven or eight tonight, get back up and do it all again tomorrow,” Micah Hayes, a worker with Valley Landscape and Design, said.

Hayes’ fellow employees pride themselves on a job well done regardless of what challenges the weather brings, but with the temperatures getting hotter earlier than usual, workers are starting to feel the strain.

“July and August especially when it’s like this every day, 100 degrees, it’s pretty brutal. I’ve passed out a couple times. Not this year but last year mainly because I wasn’t staying hydrated, eating snacks,” said Hayes.

Hayes’ situation is shared by Knoxville Utility Board (KUB) crews, whose standard safety protocols make their job that much more uncomfortable.

“While they’re in the air they have to wear FR-rated, fire resistant, clothing,” Electrical Safety Specialist Eric Shannon said. “That makes it hotter and they also have their rubber sleeves and gloves which also adds an extra factor to the heat.”

Regardless of what type of work crews are performing, preparations for the heat begin way before workers clock in.

They start the night before or even a couple days before to hydrate to make sure that they don’t have a heat-related injury,” Shannon explained.

Those preparations are exactly what health officials say workers, and everyday folks should do.

“If you can choose the hours, get plenty of fluids, and make sure you’ve got sunscreen and hats available,” said Dena Mashburn, Knox County Health Department N.P., Clinical Services Manager.


Tips from the Knox County Health Department

1. Choose the coolest hours of the day to venture outside

“Not being out in those middle, ten to five, when the heat is at its worst and the sun is at its strongest,” Mashburn said. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

“Making sure you are getting plenty of fluids,” Mashburn urged. “It’s something people think they might be getting plenty in, but really thinking about the largest glass you can have and making sure you’re filling it up multiple times through the day. It’s really hard to catch up once you get behind on that hydration.”

3. Use protective coverings

“Think about hats, think about sunscreen,” Mashburn told WATE. “When you can be in the shade it makes a big difference. Those are the things I would think most about.”


For more information about Knoxville’s current heatwave, visit WATE’s weather page.