Department of Highways, District 11
Practice Heat Safety Every Day, Not Just On a Hot One Take breaks, drink water, never leave children in vehicles
Manchester, Ky. (August 23, 2007) – It’s hot “on the road,” especially in summer when highway surface temperatures often soar to 100 degrees or more.
That’s why the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet puts heat management high on its work zone safety list, said Michael Calebs, executive director for Department of Highways District 11.
Department of Highways crews are supplied with sunscreen, eye protection with an option of sunglass tinting, as well as ample water and ice. It’s stressed that crew members drink plenty of water, schedule early start times and take frequent breaks.
In addition, crews are trained to work safely on a daily basis by watching for the warning signs of heat-related illnesses:
• Heat exhaustion: cool, moist, pale, flushed or ashen skin; headache, nausea or dizziness; weakness. Move victim to a cooler environment, loosen or remove clothing, give small amounts of cool water to drink, fan the victim and seek medical care if necessary.
• Heat stroke: change in the level of consciousness, high body temperature; red, hot skin either dry or moist; rapid or weak pulse or shallow breathing. Call 911 and give care until help arrives by following tips for treating heat exhaustion.
The Transportation Cabinet urges the public to take similar precautions, and follow these American Red Cross tips: If you normally work or play outside, reduce strenuous activities, wear light clothing, drink plenty of water, spend more time in air-conditioned places and avoid sunburn.
Motorists are encouraged to “Drive Smart” and protect themselves against summer heat by driving in cooler morning or evening hours, maintaining air conditioning systems and avoiding breakdowns through routine maintenance checkups of engines and tires.
Even off the road, heat can be deadly, especially inside a vehicle where children should never be left unattended. It only takes a typical sunny day to quickly push temperatures to potentially deadly levels in car interiors.
Industry studies agree that in only five to 10 minutes, a vehicle’s interior temperature can increase by 20 degrees. The average temperature inside an unattended vehicle can reach 120 degrees or greater.
That’s why the Transportation Cabinet offers these Red Cross and National Safe Kids Campaign heat safety tips for parents and motorists:
• Never leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle for a minute, even with a window slightly open. This applies to pets as well. Heat exhaustion, hyperthermia and death may result.
• Teach children not to play in, on or around cars.
• Always lock car doors and trunks – even at home – and keep keys out of children’s reach. Check to ensure that all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination. Don’t overlook sleeping infants.
• Secure children correctly, and in a car that has been parked in the heat check to make sure seat surfaces and equipment (car seat and buckles) aren't overly hot.
“The cabinet’s top priority is the safety of the traveling public,” Calebs said. “That includes everything from construction warning signs, high-visibility clothing and other precautions for highway crews to promoting safety for motorists – regardless of the temperature outside.”