The National Weather Service in Fort Worth has issued a Heat Advisory that covers much of North Texas and runs from Tuesday until Wednesday evening.
For the remainder of the week, high temperatures are forecast to soar into the upper 90s with heat index values expected to climb above 100.
On Tuesday, MedStar Mobile Healthcare — the ambulance service for 15 communities in Tarrant County — responded to 11 heat-related calls. Ten of those calls resulted in people being transported to area hospitals. Two of those people were considered to be in serious condition, and one was considered to be critical.
Long time Texans know the high heat is the price we pay for living in this land of plenty, but that is little comfort for plenty of people who have no choice but to spend extended time outside.
In the last 12 months, builders in the Dallas-Fort Worth area broke ground on 34,361 new single family homes, according to figures provided by the Dallas Builders Association. At any given time there may be as many as 10 construction workers on any individual home site, meaning the number of people working in home construction in North Texas could approach 350,000.
People working in the construction industry are among those who are advised to take extra precautions in the summer heat. Those precautions include resting when necessary and drinking plenty of water.
Richard Miller, of Richard Miller Custom Homes, noted that his workers are allowed to take an hour for lunch, and to take as many water breaks as they need, because he does not want them to feel any pressure to push through the signs of heat stroke.
"I’ve been a builder for 15 years in Dallas, and I have never had a heat-related injury with one of my guys," Miller said. "These guys work hard. We love what they do, and we rely on them."
Dallas is one of only a few cities in Texas that requires employers in the construction field to provide rest breaks for their employees. According to the city ordinance, construction workers in Dallas are allowed to take a minimum of a 10-minute break for every four hours worked.
To avoid dehydration when active outdoors, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests that people drink six to 12 ounces of fluid every 10 to 15 minutes. That could mean up to three gallons of water may be required for someone who does strenuous work outside all day.
Highway construction is another area where the work does not stop just because the blast furnace of the Texas summer turns on.
The Texas Department of Transportation requires a minimum of two water breaks each day for people doing work on its highway projects — one at 9:30 a.m. and one at 2:30 p.m. Those breaks are in addition to a mandatory lunch break, and any additional water break that a worker decides they need to take.