Best Practices, Columnists, Operations, Tyler Mahan, V9I3

It’s HOT Out There!

(Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

For those of you who don’t live down south, let me tell you a little bit about summer in Oklahoma. It gets HOT! That’s really about all you need to know. 

But, since that won’t fill up a full page, allow me to elaborate a little.

When I first started working for Better Barns, I was not used to working outdoors all day. I started in July. Temperatures were over 100 F, day after day. 

We went to build a building on-site in Ada, Oklahoma, one day and I realized just how dangerous that heat can be. Long about the middle of the afternoon, I just tuckered out. I couldn’t get going.

I headed over to the shade and just watched as Vance finished the building. 
I tell you I felt like a pathetic loser. 

However, as I learned more about working in the heat, I understood a few things. First, as a teenager, I just about refused to drink water. Mountain Dew was my drink of choice. I usually drank at least six 12-ounce cans per day—not a great plan for working in the heat.

Secondly, I learned that it is not shameful to take a little break in the middle of the afternoon due to extreme heat. Your body needs an opportunity to cool down and help you feel a little refreshed. 

I also learned that the things you eat have a profound effect on your ability to cope with the weather.

Since that day long ago, I have watched other newcomers to the outdoor building world struggle with the heat. 

Just a couple of years ago, I took a rookie to help me build a large shed on-site. It was the hottest day of the year (which is saying something here in Oklahoma). Before the day was over, he was rejecting his lunch while trying to help me shingle in midafternoon. 

I remembered my own experience in the heat and sent him to the shade.

It was so hot that day that the shingles would stick to the roof on contact. I’m talking about really sticking. It was such a pain trying to be sure the tar didn’t touch anything until the shingle was exactly where it belonged. 

Finally, I gave up and went to find something else to do.

The summer of 2011 was brutal. Oklahoma set the record for the hottest month of any state in July that year. According to the National Climatic Data Center, it was the highest average temperature for any state in history. 

The average temperature was a whopping 88.9 F. We only had one day that month when the thermometer didn’t register 100 F. 

While that was easy to write about, it was much harder to work through. We had to be very careful not to get overheated. That kind of heat is very dangerous. During that summer, it seemed like a daily occurrence to hear about someone who had died due to the heat. 

So, for those of you up north who deal with extreme cold, I don’t really know how that feels. I am not equipped to deal with the frigid temps that you are accustomed to during winter. 

However, I think I can safely say that, down south, the heat is one of the most dangerous factors we shed builders deal with. 

Let’s be sure that the newcomers learn how to deal with the heat before tragedy strikes. Be careful out there!  

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