From roofers to fire crews, Valley’s outdoor workers brave dangerous heat

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — It was already 100 degrees around noon Friday, and many field workers in the Visalia area were still at work, feeling the heat.

The harsh sun fell on some roofers as they completed some prep work on top of the old A&W near downtown Visalia.

“We have to, someone has to do it,” says Adolfo Panaaiagua, adding that the heat hit him hard when he was at work last summer.

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He felt dizzy and had a headache.

But he did the right thing by telling his boss he needed a break.

“We drink a lot of water and drink some electrolytes and if it can take 12 or 1, it’s too hot, we’ll just leave,” Panaaiagua said.

Firefighters and other emergency responders are also at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

That’s why Tulare County Fire Chief Joe Rosa says crews avoid outdoor activities in high temperatures.

“For us, we don’t want to be completely destroyed if we get to a fire because we’ve been out doing maintenance on the station all day,” Rosa said.

The division’s light and air units are always deployed to make fires and carry water, Gatorade, chairs and misters.

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In grass fires, Rosa says they are trying to adjust their work-rest cycles for crews on the line.

“So if you work for an hour or two, then we get that 15, 30 minute rest period,” Rosa said. “To make sure guys aren’t having cramps, guys don’t show any signs of a heat-related illness that requires them to get medical attention.”

The inside of the Bombshell Beans coffee truck was burning on Friday.

“Especially with the black truck,” said owner Stephen Moore. “It’s absolutely rough. We’ve got the AC on full blast.”

Moore makes sure his employees stay hydrated on days like Friday.

He also hopes his customers will do the same.

“If you drink coffee, drink water with it,” Moore said. “It’s very important to stay hydrated. We are all addicted to caffeine, but we also have to drink the water. So I always have a side of water with my coffee.”

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