Workers brave heat as temperatures climb in Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With the heat index hitting as high as 110 degrees Tuesday, the best thing to do is stay inside somewhere with air conditioning. But some people don’t have that option.

Anyone outside on a day as hot as this will want to wear a hat and have water handy, and that’s exactly what employers recommend as well.

Ronni Williams and her workout partner braved the heat and geared up for a run from Tom Lee Park to Mud Island to stay in shape for the school year, playing basketball for Mississippi Valley State.

Even Williams has a choice, but across the street, contractors working to improve sidewalks along Riverside Drive do not.

“We don’t stop services ever,” Robert Knecht, director of Public Works, said. “We have to provide services all the time.”

He’s not just talking about street paving, where temperatures can reach 300 degrees. There’s also waste and litter collection crews, who can’t stop even when the sun shines as bright as this week.

“Drink lots of water, sunscreen all over me, broad brimmed hats and cover up,” said Jim Underkofler, who is visiting Memphis.

Memphis Light Gas and Water officials said to do the same thing.

“MLGW does not have a temperature-related inclement weather policy for our employees; however, employee safety is our Number One priority,” an MLGW representative said. “We encourage employees to stay hydrated. Our trucks have coolers of water. We also furnish SPF towelettes and electrolytes.”

Knecht said MLGW changes work schedules for some operations, so they start earlier in the day when its cooler.

Luckily for Williams and her training partner, they only plan to be out for around an hour.

It’s always wise to check on neighbors and loved ones, especially the elderly, when temperatures get this high.

As for kids, Shelby County Schools said they will cancel practices if the heat index gets above 104 degrees. WREG reached out to find out about afternoon practices and are still waiting to hear back.

For more resources, check out OSHA’s website on heat stress and download their app for personalized heat safety information.


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