Gone are the perfect Tucson days of cool breezes and open windows. Summer is fast approaching; it’s time to start thinking about how to beat the heat. Remaining COVID safe during 100+ degree days will add extra challenges, so here are 5 way to stay cool while staying safe:

5 Ways to Beat the Heat

  1. Designate break areas – Taking a break is a necessity. Designate indoor and outdoor break areas so volunteers know where they can rest. For outdoor break areas, shade is a must. White tarps, fans, misters and even potted plants help create an outdoor oasis. Also designate areas where volunteers can remove their masks. Sweaty masks are ineffective so encourage volunteers to bring a space or offer paper mask replacements. 
  2. Limit break room capacity – Measure your break space and set an occupancy limit so people are able to distance at least 6 feet apart. To avoid overcrowding, consider assigning break times so people get several, shorter breaks instead of one long one. If you don’t have assigned breaks, consider a break time limit. This ensures that no one is waiting for a long time to use the break room. If people need a longer break for lunch or heat related illness, find a tertiary area that can accomodate those as they arise. 
  3. Breathable fabrics – Does your organization require a uniform? Look into offering summer options that come in breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Clothes light in color also repel heat better than dark colors. Lastly, encourage clothing that offers sun protection like hats and sun sleeves. If you are unable to afford new uniforms, create a guide where volunteers can find appropriate sun wear. 
  4. Hydration stations – Staying hydrated is the most important thing during the summer. Make sure there are plenty of ways volunteers can refill water bottles or access water if they do not have a bottle with them. At the Zoo, we purchase electrolyte pops for staff and volunteers to enjoy. This is a great way to stay hydrated but also gives us a sweet, motivational treat to finish the day strong. Ice is also a great way to cool down. Coolers filled with ice can keep water bottles cold, and icy rags placed on veins (wrists, neck, behind the knees) quickly dispel heat. 
  5. Review heat safety – Heat related illness can sneak up on us very quickly. Review the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke with your volunteers to ensure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. Encourage everyone to look out for each other as well. Lastly as staff, encourage frequent breaks and cool down periods. It’s better to work smarter and not harder in the summertime!

Does your organization have a unique way of beating the heat? Share your secrets and tips on social media and tag us @SAVMA.org.