Vests Keep Valets Icy Cool

One North Texas employer has come up with a way to keep some of its workers icy cool outdoors. Valet parking attendants at Baylor Regional Medical Center in Plano now wear Isotherm cooling vests.

Up until this week, Oleg Mikhailovitzch, Gold Crown valet supervisor, and his team of valet attendants parked cars in triple-digit temperatures for eight hours a day, five days a week..

"It's unbearable," said Mikhailovitzch. "Pretty much by 9 o'clock, you're sweating."

But a few days ago, everything changed. The hospital bought the valets cooling vests that come out of the freezer and go right onto their torsos.

"We look like Spartan soldiers, you know," said Mikhailovitzch. "This is, wow, this is great help. Great help, you know. I'm really thankful."

Ice packs inside the vest keep the valets cool for a few hours. During a break, it takes half an hour to refreeze the vest so they can run back and forth, parking and retrieving cars under the sun.

Dr. Robert Berry, director of orthopedic sports medicine, convinced the hospital to buy the vests, which can lower the temperature on a person's skin by 25 degrees. The vests really help during the hottest part of a valet's job -- getting into a parked car. It can be as hot as 140 degrees inside.

"I noticed several of the valet attendants who were sweating and actually looked like they were succumbing to the heat. I went and talked to one of them, and he said he was feeling dizzy and actually not feeling too well," said Dr. Berry.

The vest weighs six pounds, which puts little weight on the valets' back and shoulders.

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