For the past few weeks, the Pacific Northwest and several Western Canadian provinces were hit with scorching temperatures. The intense heat led to dozens of deaths, melted power cables, damaged homes and streets, and even destroyed crops. In fact, records were set in many U.S states in late June and early July as summer kicked into high gear. Heat warnings were issued to some 50 million people, and meteorologists predict more extremely hot days are in the forecast this summer. In Arizona, where I live, we’ve already had several “excessive” heat warnings, including one this week.
This time of year also happens to be a busy season for many self-storage operators. People tend to change jobs, move residences and tackle home-improvement projects. An increase in facility activity could lead to more people coming and going from your property. If yours has drive-up units or outdoor storage, that means some time outdoors in the sweltering weather.
If you’re doing more than just moving from your air-conditioned office to your air-conditioned car, you need to be prepared. Here are few tips to staying safe when temperatures hit triple digits.
Stay hydrated. Seems like an easy one, right? Sometimes, though, you get busy and forget to chug that cool H20. Or you might be showing a unit or doing lock checks and forgot to take a water bottle with you. Don’t do that! Always keep water on hand and drink it often, even when you’re not thirsty. If you happen to see a tenant at their unit, make a quick trip to offer some cold water to them as well. A word to the wise, even though soda on a hot day is awesome, don’t reach for sugary and caffeinated drinks.
Prep your front office. You know when that sun will hit your office and warm it up. While sunlight is great for serotonin levels, it always ushers in the hot. So, close those blinds, opt for black-out curtains and move your desk if need be.
Be outdoor-ready. While it’s ideal to stay indoors, that’s not always possible. You need to conduct lock-checks, inspect empty units and perform other groundskeeping errands on the regular. Keep your head protected with a hat (even if you feel silly), your eyes covered with sunglasses, and slather on sunscreen to any exposed skin. Try to plan these outdoor excursions for early morning or evening so you don’t roast in the sun. Also, take the golf cart, even if you’re not going far.
Know the signs. Heat sickness can come on suddenly and happen to anyone, even those who are accustomed to being outdoors during warm weather. Here’s are some warning signs, courtesy of the American Red Cross:
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale and clammy skin
- Fast, weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Tiredness or weakness
- Brief fainting (passing out)
If any of these happen, get the person to a cool place, add wet cloths on their body and offer water. If there’s any vomiting, confusion develops or the symptoms last longer than an hour, medical intervention might be needed. Of course, having emergency protocols and even a first-aid kit on hand is always a good idea.
In Arizona, 115 degrees is the norm this time of year. However, I can honestly say that you never get used to it. Nor should you, really. Rather, take precautions to keep yourself and your customers safe this summer.