City officials aim to assist workers who must deal with the extreme heat

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 6:13 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The City of Topeka discussed how they are helping workers in the heat at Tuesday morning’s monthly news conference.

The extreme heat can slow anyone down, but workers who are outside every day, must take care of their bodies.

United States Postal Service carrier Josh Harlow said that mail delivery trucks do not have air conditioners and can become dangerously hot.

He kept a thermometer in his truck, and around 10:00 Tuesday morning. His truck was 108.8 degrees.

“It’s pretty hot in that truck, and we try to drink as much water as we can,” said Harlow. “They tell us to take breaks in the shade or find an air-conditioned area if we can. Some places, that’s a pretty far drive, so we have to rely on the goodwill of some of our patrons to give us water bottles and stuff, and we really do appreciate that when that does happen.”

City officials talked about preventative measures they have in place for their workers during this heat wave.

Interim City Manager Richard Nienstedt said workers must take breaks and stay hydrated.

“We invest in cool vests. We invest in cool wraps. We invest in protective clothing from the sun, and we invest in a lot of common sense, too,” stated Nienstedt. “I think most of our employees know if they’re not feeling well. If they’re feeling sick, we get them out of that situation, and we get someone to look at them.”

While it is essential to take care of ourselves, it is equally important to keep an eye on others who may be experiencing heat-related illnesses.

Mayor Michael Padilla said it is vital to stay aware.

“If you see somebody that might be experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 911 immediately and do what you can to provide assistance and help.”

Several individuals with knowledge of the situation told 13 NEWS that five postal carriers went to the hospital on Monday with heat-related illnesses.

The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis said it’s seen 16 patients with heat exposure symptoms since August 18, and four had to be admitted to the hospital.

Stormont Vail has treated eight during that time.

Newman Regional in Emporia said they had three patients yesterday — all since discharged.