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Outside Workers Bear The Brunt Of Texas Heat Wave

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
Bud is the most veteran reporter at CBS 11 News with 42 years in m...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When we uttered the words “Beat the Heat” they definitely sounded better when we were talking about the NBA Finals and not the sweat dribbling off your face.

Some workers on Dallas garbage trucks call this stretch of summer “Hell’s Kitchen.” Thursday a CBS 11 News crew met three of those workers who say in this heat they have to have each others backs.

“You take care of them,” District 4 Dallas Sanitation Services Manager John Barlow said of his employees. “They are your people. They let you know when they need to break and you break when they need to break to cool off.”

Barlow remembers the demands that come with working in the heat. He drove trucks at the Dallas landfill during the deadly summer of 1980.

Nowadays the trucks have coolers on-board, filled with water and sports drinks and the guys are taking breaks inside when needed.

Barlow sends a very clear message to his workers. “Just take your time, we have all day to do this. It doesn’t get dark until eight o’clock.”

Across town, Danny Johnson’s veteran painting crew has a similar philosophy. But they put time on their side in a different way.

“We try to get here early and we’re not working past 3:00 or 3:30 because that’s the predominant time it’s really hot,” explained Johnson.

Of course, working and avoiding the heat of the day is important but Johnson says one of the biggest gifts you can get if you’re working outside is a big ole Texas shade tree, like the one shading the Dallas painting project they worked on Thursday. “These trees are a blessing,” he said. “Definitely.”

Sometimes, though, even shade accompanied with fans and misters aren’t enough. The outdoor patios at many restaurants are summertime ghost towns.

Chris Valera of The Blue Fish Sushi Restaurant points out, “It’s really affecting our business during lunch right now. Even with our misters and our fans the hot weather’s not… customers just don’t want to be outside right now.”

For The Blue Fish and other restaurants, twilight brings a blessed coolness and the promise of a happier clientele.

“Usually after eight o’clock customers will come in, have a nice glass of wine outside on the patio,” Valera says, adding, “ With the heat no one wants to be outside right now.”

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