The month’s temperatures have been the hottest ever; no exaggeration. July set records for extreme heat (and then set more records as the month went on).
If there’s any silver lining for people in Northern Kentucky, the region’s high temperatures haven’t been nearly as severe as other parts of the country or the world. Phoenix, Ariz., for example, saw ten days of temperatures exceeding 110 degrees as of July 25, according to Scientific American. Spain and China, on the other hand, both saw record temperatures of 113.7 degrees and 126 degrees, respectively.
Everyone’s had to make changes to adapt.
Last week, Rumpke began informing cities in the region that they had to move their usual pick-up times to an hour earlier in the morning to protect the safety of their workers.
“You have to watch out for things like heat stress and heat stroke, even,” said Rumpke’s Corporate Communications Manager Molly Yeager Broadwater. “You have to watch out for all those signs.”
“It just makes life a lot harder,” Yeager said, for waste workers, especially in urban areas where long stretches of asphalt and low amounts of tree cover can leave workers at the mercy of the elements.
“Getting out even an hour earlier makes all the difference in the world,” Yeager said, “especially when you’re working in Northern Kentucky in those urban environments.”
To mitigate the problem, Yeager said that Rumpke supplied its workers with Gatorade and trained them on spotting the signs of heat stroke and heat injuries. Thankfully, Yeager said, she was unaware of any cases of heat stroke or heat injury at Rumpke this year, although they have occurred in the past.
No waste workers were available to interview when LINK nky visited Rumpke in Colerain, Ohio.
Residents are feeling the heat, too, but resources are available for people who need help.
“We estimate we’ll be able to purchase… about 700 fans,” said Rhonda Chisenhall, vice president of community development for the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission.
The action commission has offices in eight counties in Kentucky, and they provide a variety of emergency assistance programs for qualifying people and families.
One special program this year came from a recent grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, which saw $50,000 granted to ten local nonprofit organizations to purchase fans for people dealing with the heat. The Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission received $20,000 to buy the fans.
“The grant is focused on helping low-income families and seniors,” Chisenhall said. “So we’re focusing our efforts on families at 200% of the federal poverty level or seniors.”
Anyone in the region who needs a fan can go to one of the action commission’s eight neighborhood centers to get one. No appointment is needed.
The commission offers other services, including emergency rent and utility assistance and a home weatherization program that provides home repairs to keep houses safe and energy efficient. In addition, the commission also administers Head Start classrooms and several other programs for seniors.
“So with all of our programs, we help about 35,000 people each year,” Chisenhall said.
When it comes to general advice for dealing with extreme heat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend staying hydrated and staying in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. Strenuous exercise outdoors is also not recommended.
Read more about dealing with extreme heat and the signs and symptoms of heat stroke at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
To learn more about the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, including how to apply for assistance, visit their website.