Heat wave to stick around through Wednesday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

For those who work outside all day, the recent heat wave can be a challenge.

Kenny Miller, a backhoe operator and water-meter reader with the City of Ironton’s Water Department, was digging up South Second Street to shut off water service to torn-down houses.

So what do the city workers do to keep cool?

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“We just drink a lot of water until we get our job done,” Miller said. “We just try to take it one job at a time.”

Miller and others who are forced to be outside for extended periods of time are being urged by experts to take some simple precautions to keep

cool and avoid potential health risks from the heat.

Andy Roche, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, W.Va., said there is a heat advisory in effect for the next two days. The combination of heat and high humidity make the temperature seem well over 100 degrees.

The heat wave is expected to last through Wednesday with some relief coming to southern Ohio on Thursday, Roche said.

“We have an approaching front from the north that should arrive late afternoon or evening that may cool it down a little bit,” he said. “Friday should be around the mid-80s.”

The National Weather Service advises that the heat will seem the strongest in the city or on paved lots. People, especially children and the elderly, should do their best to avoid heat-related injuries by following some safety tips offered by the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel:

4Injury and death can occur from dehydration, which can happen quickly and unnoticed. Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Your body needs water to keep cool.

4Avoid eating a lot of high-protein foods that increase metabolism. Do not take salt tablets unless told to by a doctor.

4Do not get too much sun and definitely avoid getting a sunburn

4Dress for summer by wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing. Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps maintain normal body temperature. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid sunburn and over-warming effects of sunlight on your body.

4Slow down. Strenuous activities should be reduced or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day.

4Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine. Even in the warmest weather, staying indoors, out of sunshine, is safer than long periods of exposure to the sun.

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel also offered the following energy conservation methods to maintain reasonable monthly utility bills.

“By following a few simple tips, consumers can avoid exorbitant summer utility bills,” said Robert S. Tongren, Ohio Consumers’ Counsel.

To conserve energy, consumers can:

4Turn up the thermostat. To maximize energy consumption, set the thermostat between 74 degrees and 78 degrees. To fine-tune the temperature setting to individual preferences, simply adjust 1 degree at a time, waiting one hour or so in between to evaluate the change. Avoid running air conditioners at extremely low temperatures. Consumers with medical concerns should maintain a safe household temperature.

4Clean or change cooling equipment filters frequently, preferably every three months.

4Be sure the air-conditioning equipment is the right size for your home. A unit that is too small cannot handle all cooling needs, and one that is too big will not maintain proper humidity levels.

4Make sure furniture and draperies are not blocking cooling outlets. Blocked outlets restrict air circulation, overwork the cooling equipment and increase operating costs.

4Keep outdoor coils free of debris and remove trapped dirt and dust from inside cooling grills or registers.

4Turn off unnecessary lighting.

4Pull blinds and shades to keep the sunlight out. This will reduce solar heat gain.

4Keep storm windows and doors in place to reduce the air conditioning load.

4Close off rooms that are not used directly for cooling so rooms most used by the household will remain cool.

4 Run large appliances such as washers, dryers and dishwashers late in the evening.