Anthony Green was outdoors on Friday morning at the Owensboro Parks and Recreation Department on McJohnson Avenue. Green, a public works department employee, was managing a crew clearing brush near the offices while wearing a hooded sweatshirt under his reflective vest.
Considering the sweltering weather Friday, the look attracted attention, Green said.
"When I'm out working people will say, 'You're making me hot,' " Green said. But the sweatshirt is a tradition of sorts that he always wears to work, hot or cold, he said.
"My body is so used to it," Green said. "It keeps me cool."
Keeping cool was not an easy task for people outdoors Friday, and the weekend ahead will not provide any significant relief. The National Weather Service in Paducah has issued a heat warning extending through 7 p.m. Sunday, with heat index values expected to reach to from 105 to 110 degrees.
Outdoors, it won't be fit for man or beast for the next couple of days. Officials who deal with both human and animal welfare said diligence and caution will be needed to stay safe.
There won't be any public cooling centers open in the city or county. Andy Ball, director of Daviess County Emergency Management, said there generally isn't a need for a government-operated cooling center because people have several places to go to get out of the heat.
"I know some counties do cooling shelters, but during the heat of the day, there are so many places" to go with air conditioning, such as the bus station, Towne Square Mall or the Daviess County Public Library, Ball said.
Officials could always reconsider and open shelters if a heat wave warranted action, he said.
People who plan to be outside need to take precautions to guard against heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Dr. John Vitali, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and emergency medicine specialist at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, said heatstroke can be fatal if not treated by an emergency room immediately.
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke "most commonly occurs when people are exercising in hot weather," Vitali said. "It can also happen to people who are not exercising, (such as) the very old and the very young."
The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, dizziness or faintness, fatigue, goosebumps when in the heat, cramps and nausea. Heatstroke's symptoms include hallucinations, trouble walking and thinking, fainting and seizures.
"The keys are recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and acting on them," said Owensboro Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Leonard. Firefighters had not responded to any heat emergencies as for Friday afternoon, but calls for treatment of heat exhaustion do occur locally during the summer months, he said.
To avoid overheating, people need to take frequent breaks from the heat and stay hydrated, Leonard said. The high humidity makes the extreme heat more difficult on the body.
When its 90 degrees outside and the humidity is 90 percent, the effect is like "breathing water," Leonard said.
If a person is showing signs of heatstroke, call 911, Vitali said.
"What we typically tell people is to be less active" during the hotter parts of the day, Vitali said. Any outdoor work or exercise should be done early in the morning or later in the evening after the heat has dissipated somewhat.
When outside, people should monitor one another for signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke and have a plan for what to do, Vitali said.
City Public Works Director Wayne Shelton said crews are going to work with supplies of water and Gatorade and do most of their heavier work in the early morning hours.
"It's what I call a typical outdoor work environment," Shelton said. "You can't just shut down."
But he said, "individual safety and job safety is more important than trying to get everything accomplished."
Ashley Thompson, director of Daviess County Animal Control, said she recommends people take their pets inside during periods of high heat. If that's not possible, pets need plenty of fresh water, changed regularly, and a place where they can be out of the sun and catch breezes.
"A doghouse is not shade," Thompson said. "A doghouse is just a hot box. It's not going to provide any breeze."
People should call animal control or dispatch if they see any animals they believe are suffering from the heat, Thompson said.
"We encourage people to call ... so we can come check on it," Thompson said.
Despite the heat, some outdoor work must go on. Jacob Feldspausch, who works with River's Edge Lawn and Landscape, got sick from the heat while mowing lawns earlier this week and was taken to Owensboro Health for treatment. On Friday, Feldpausch and Dustin Terry were installing patio tiles on Tours Court, but were taking frequent breaks to drink water and get in the shade.
"My thing was I'd cool down and think I was good to go," only to get sick again, Feldpausch said. Now, the crew will break when needed and cool off in their air-conditioned truck at times.
"At lunchtime, we go sit in the AC," Feldpausch said. "Then, we don't want to go back out."
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse