Take care working outdoors during extreme heat

Our region will once again experience extremely hot weather tomorrow, and high temperatures are expected to continue before moderating later in the week. Some of our work needs to be performed outdoors. Executive Branch departments should evaluate planned field work to determine if this work can be postponed to later in the week when temperatures are expected to moderate, where possible. If work must be performed, departments should attempt to adapt schedules wherever possible so work can be performed in the morning. 

Please see the following guidance and tips (this guidance applies to Executive Branch employees. Employees in other branches of County government may receive additional guidance from their leaders):

For managers and supervisors 

  • If an employee normally performs field work outdoors for extended periods, please consider curtailing all non-critical outdoor work on Monday (and potentially additional days depending on conditions)
  • Consider adjusting employee work schedules, locations, or regularly assigned duties during extreme heat days if these are options
  • If employees must work outdoors, please attempt to have work completed in the morning and avoid work in direct sunlight
  • Ensure employees take frequent breaks in the shade or air-conditioned locations (e.g., office space, library, community center, grocery store), and reduce drive times, if possible
  • Wherever possible, employees should avoid outdoor work in direct sunlight from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.  

For outdoor workers

  • Talk to your supervisor about adjusting scheduling to avoid all non-critical outdoor work on Monday, or perform critical outdoors tasks in the morning only
  • Take breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned space
  • Stay hydrated. Have a beverage with you at all times, and sip or drink frequently. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Avoid sunburn. Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating and wear protective clothing. 

Remember that mask mandates remain in place. If you are working outdoors, you may remove your masks when: 

  • You are fully vaccinated and have provided acceptable proof of vaccination by showing photos, copies, or actual vaccination cards to designated department representatives, or
  • You are working at least six feet from others.

For everyone

  • Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors
  • If you’re outdoors, take breaks in the shade or in air-conditioned buildings. Avoid direct contact with the sun
  • Avoid exercising or strenuous activity in direct sunlight from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday when the heat is most intense.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more
  • NEVER leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open! It only takes a few minutes for severe medical problems and even death to occur
  • Watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Seek medical care immediately if you know someone who experiences symptoms.
  • Certain health conditions and medications make people more sensitive to heat. Check with your doctor about whether you are at greater risk.  

Signs of heat exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Weak pulse
  • Fainting
  • Vomiting. 

Signs of heat stroke

  • High body temperature (103° F or higher)
  • Hot, dry skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness.

 More information: www.kingcounty.gov/BeatTheHeat.