LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The arrival of the hottest weeks of the year means it’s time to raise a tall glass of something cold to the men and women who must work outside in those conditions.
People like mail carriers and line workers with no choice but to grin and bear it.
“The dogs always know you're here,” said John Maxwell.
Maxwell is a veteran mail carrier. He made his appointed rounds with a dog barking out the window from inside an air-conditioned home. Just in time for the dog days of summer. It has Maxwell running through his mail route at a leisurely pace.
“When it's really hot you better slow your pace down a little bit and take care of yourself,” he said. “You can overheat yourself real easy out here before you know it.”
So, Maxwell takes the necessary precautions. With 18 years on the job, he knows where to find the all the shady spots along his Little Rock route. He also knows how important it is to stay hydrated when working in this weather, but he has a pro tip: pre-hydration.
“Drink plenty of water during the night because I believe the most important thing is to keep the consumption of water up,” Maxwell said.
The key to getting through a heat wave is the way you start the day.
This mentality applied to a crew of line workers, placing a fiber optic cable underground on Markham St. One worker said he hated this weather, but another couple shrugged their shoulders. A foreman had a seasonal preference.
“In the summer it's hot, but in the winter it's still cold but the manholes are warm in the winter, so that makes it kind of equal out,” said Kenith Robinson laughingly.
Maxwell agrees with Robinson’s take on the seasons.
“I prefer the cold weather. You can always put clothes on,” he said. “I grew up on a farm in my early childhood days, so I've been pretty well in the heat all my life.”
Maxwell said the hottest he ever remembers working came about 10 years ago when temperatures reached 114 degrees. He also said he once started to get heatstroke. He closely watches for warning signs while he’s out there, noting that if he stops sweating, he needs to get to some water fast.