Maintenance Minute: Staying Safe in the Sun

maintenance minute multifamily heat

1,535 deaths occurred from heat-related illness in Arizona from the years 2000 – 2012, according to research done by the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS). During the summer months it is especially important for those who work outside, such as maintenance professionals, to take extra precautions. Let’s take a look at a few resources which will prove helpful for those who work under the Arizona sun.

Types of Heat Illness

Heat Cramps: One of the first signs that the body is dealing with overexposure to the heat is the presence of heat cramps. Heat cramps involve heavy sweating along with spasms and muscle cramps that typically occur in the muscles of the abdomen and legs. This is the mildest form of heat illness.

Heat Exhaustion: Heat Exhaustion typically occurs as a result of overworking in a hot environment and heavy sweating. Much of the blood flow that normally is directed towards the body’s vital organs is redirected towards the skin. Heat Exhaustion culminates in a mild form of shock, and if left untreated can lead to Heat Stroke.

Heat Stroke: Heat Stroke occurs when an individual’s temperature control system ceases to work and body temperatures rise too high. This is a life-threatening illness that can result in brain damage or death if not treated quickly.

Heat Illness Prevention

The following are a few helpful preventative measures that outside workers can take to avoid heat illness:

  • Drink water every 15 minutes

  • Make sure to take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.

  • Eat smaller meals, but eat more frequently

  • Work in teams of two or more people


Heat Safety Resources

The Red Cross has a useful webpage which details how to stay safe in the heat and treat heat-related illness. Likewise, the Arizona Department of Health Services has a helpful Outdoor Worker Toolkit  which includes resources such as training tools for employers and a heat safety video.

Do you know of other helpful prevention tactics or resources? Please share them with us!


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Taylor Fish
Taylor is a staff writer for Multihousing Friends and a student at Brigham Young University.