Reporter: Amanda Wideman
With record breaking heat this summer, crews who work outside are taking extra precautions. Many are keeping water close by to help keep the people on the crew hydrated. The Benton County Road Department Asphalt crew does just that every day.
They watch over the rest of the crew as they are working all of six inches from about 350 degree asphalt. With the heat stroke symptoms happening so fast it is difficult to keep an eye out for yourself so this crew watches over their own.
Its difficult for them to stop for water breaks because as soon as the first truck of asphalt gets to the job site they are working non-stop. So instead of having the water and gatorade jugs on a truck down the road they put them on the asphalt machine for easy access.
Asphalt is tricky when it comes to working with it because if it cools down too much it becomes a waste of material. Once they get started there’s no stopping for eight to ten hours and in this heat it is not a job for just any one.
“Asphalt isn’t for everyone, it takes a special type of person to do it,” Raymond Reynolds, Benton County Asphalt Crew Forman says. “Its so hot that even on days you do not get much sun the burn from the asphalt makes your cheeks red like you were out in the sun all day.”
They decided to see the temperatures of how hot the guys who are closest to the actual asphalt was and the highest temperature was 120 degrees. It’s a dangerous job to be out there in that type of heat Monday through Friday but these guys get through it day in and day out.
Benton County recently put the asphalt crew together once they realized how much cheaper it would be for them to hire people to do their county roads rather than contract them out. The asphalt crew is currently working with five people when they really need nine. This leads to people doing multiple jobs throughout the day but since they make sure to stay hydrated the crew can lay two to three miles in one day.
Heat stroke symptoms include stop sweating, nausea, flushed skin, racing heart rate, headache and more. For more information go to http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heat-stroke/ds01025/dsection=symptoms to see what to watch out for as the heat in Arkansas and across the country continues.