MIAMI – Summer in Florida is a serious matter with hotter days increasing.
“We have an increase in heat – not only because of climate change, but also because of the way we’re developing our cities, more impermeable pavements, less trees, this and more excess heat coming from our cars,” Miami-Dade County Chief Heat Officer Jane Gilbert said.
This result in heat islands across the area, and working outdoors can be dangerous.
“Shades, my mask and my scarves,” Silver Wadley, a landscape attendant, describing of the layers he uses.
Wadley keeps cool, by covering up.
“With no wind it feels like more than 100,” he said.
His job takes him from one facility to another, but the goal is the same, make them look nice and neat. That requires him to be outdoors a lot, and that comes with warnings from Gilbert.
“We have 77 more days, over two months a year, with a heat index over 90 since 1985. So we have five months that reach that dangerous threshold,” she explained.
So that’s why people have to be on the lookout for heat effects.
“First sign of heat-related illness is that you start to feel thirsty, you might start to get a headache you might start to get muscle cramps, or stomachache,” she said.
Those are some of the signs of heat-related illness. To prevent the onset of such issues, those who need help with staying cool can seek shelter in libraries, parks and community centers, which either offer air-conditioning or shade.
For those that have to be in the sun, the message is to find cooler areas, drink plenty of water and take breaks every couple of hours, at least for 15 minutes.
Ten years of working outdoors has given Wadley a lot of experience in hot weather.
“You don’t want to overdo yourself. You want to say, ‘We have a plan, do this section first, and then we’ll take a water break, then we’ll do another section,'” he said.
Usually, he also has a truck stationed nearby to help give him and other workers a break with air conditioning, but there’s another piece of advice some forget.
“Put some sunscreen on because getting a sunburn is no joke,” Wadley added.