With the weather forecast indicating temperatures reaching into the high 30s for the coming week, it’s time to take stock of the necessary precautions to avoid heat related illness. ATU will be out there testing temperatures in the Operators’ cabin. The City of Edmonton has Fleet Maintenance on high alert to ensure the air conditioning in the buses is running at peak. Temperature loggers have been installed in several buses to gather data on the limited idling program. This will be a once-in-five-years heat wave and we need to take every precaution to keep everyone safe and comfortable. Here’s a list of symptoms of heat related illness from HealthLink BC:
- Heat rash (prickly heat), which occurs when the sweat ducts to the skin become blocked or swell, causing discomfort and itching.
- Heat cramps, which occur in muscles after exercise because sweating causes the body to lose water, salt, and minerals (electrolytes).
- Heat edema (swelling) in the legs and hands, which can occur when you sit or stand for a long time in a hot environment.
- Heat tetany (hyperventilation and heat stress), which is usually caused by short periods of stress in a hot environment.
- Heat syncope (fainting), which occurs from low blood pressure when heat causes the blood vessels to expand (dilate) and body fluids move into the legs because of gravity.
- Heat exhaustion (heat prostration), which generally develops when a person is working or exercising in hot weather and does not drink enough liquids to replace those lost liquids.
- Heatstroke (sunstroke), which occurs when the body fails to regulate its own temperature and body temperature continues to rise, often to 40.6°C (105°F) or higher
If you’re experiencing these symptoms in a hot environment, take it seriously. The last item on the list, heatstroke, is considered a medical emergency and should attract immediate treatment.
What to do?
- Keep hydrated. Put a bottle of water in the freezer overnight that’ll thaw quickly enough through the day.
- Get up and walk around frequently.
- Stay hydrated: drink water. Top up your water bottle regularly
- Use your fans to advantage, keep the air moving.
- Stay hydrated
- And, above all, stay hydrated
For operators, try the AC before you even leave the garage. If it breaks down on the road, request a changeover. If they can’t get you a changeover, monitor your condition carefully for the symptoms listed above and roll your security door window down. If it becomes unsafe to carry on, stop the bus and inform Control and get the WCB forms filled out.
Let’s keep everybody safe!
ATU Local 569