Dan Phahler gulps down water as he and fellow Border Paving employee Bruce Deedrick take a break from the heat while paving Viscount Drive in Vanier Woods Tuesday.

At work or play, plan to keep your cool

Any cat dancing on a hot tin roof this week should feel thankful that it doesn’t have to cope with hot tar as well.

Any cat dancing on a hot tin roof this week should feel thankful that it doesn’t have to cope with hot tar as well.

Mark Hunter, residential development manager for Cooper Roofing in Red Deer, said on Tuesday that his crews employ a variety of tactics to avoid overheating while they’re working under the hot sun. Typically, they shut down at about 30C.

That’s not just for human health and safety, said Hunter. At that point, asphalt shingles become more vulnerable to damage.

Heat conditions are amplified for crews working with hot tar on flat roofs, where temperatures can rise by five to 10 degrees above what the people on the ground below are experiencing, said Hunter.

Along with normal precautions, including making sure they are properly protected from the sun and well hydrated, roofers avoid the heat by staying out of it, he said.

During the summer, it is not uncommon for roofers to start early in the morning — providing they are not in an area affected by a noise bylaw — and shut down when the sun starts to get hot. They’ll then come back in the evening as outdoor temperatures start to cool.

Lisa Glover, a communications officer for Alberta Occupational Health and Safety, said the province’s Labour Code does not specifically address measures to ensure workers are safe and healthy.

It does however require that employers provide a safe and healthy workplace and that they assess hazards and ensure that controls are in place to prevent injuries, said Glover.

People who were attempting to escape the heat with recreation include the City of Red Deer’s downtown Recreation Centre, where the two pools have a total capacity of 540 people.

The Rec Centre has been so busy since Saturday, people have had to wait in line at times because there simply was no more room, said recreation superintendent Kay Kenny.

Those big crowds have also put pressure on the parking lot, which is shared with the Golden Circle and the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.

Kenny said the late afternoon is the busiest time of day, with families bringing their beach chairs and coolers to spend their time splashing around in the water.

It’s a great way to get fit and keep cool, she said.

However, Kenny suggests that people consider coming down earlier in the day or after supper to avoid the crunch and that they park in the largely-unused lot at the south side of the building.

The big lot, adjacent to the tennis court, is easily accessible by a pathway that runs between the pool and the museum she said.

Alberta Health Services has been warning people to take precautions to avoid heat stress and sunburn. So far, there have been no reports of people suffering heat-related injuries at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, said communications officer Heather Kipling.

However, she did find that Health Link Alberta has received about four times as many calls as usual from people with heat-related health concerns.

While Tuesday was supposed to be the hottest day of the week with an anticipated high of 31C, Environment Canada forecasts more sunny days ahead, tempered by a few high clouds.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, the five-day forecast for Red Deer suggests highs of 28C today, 27C on Thursday and Friday, and back to 28C for Saturday and Sunday.

Further west, Rocky Mountain House is expecting slightly lower temperatures with thunderstorms this afternoon and showers on Thursday, followed a return to completely clear skies on the weekend.

Sunworshippers in the Stettler area should have few complaints, with daytime temperatures reaching the high 20s and a few high clouds from time to time during the same period.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

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