Dealing with all kinds of heat
July 20, 2022
The heat outside is nearly equaled by all that’s been going on at the newspaper. There are personnel issues with people on vacation, people out for medical reasons and an employee with transportation problems due to an encounter with a deer. A couple of weeks ago, we paid a man from Arizona to fix some issues on the platesetters, machines that burn the newspaper images onto metal plates for printing.
We also had problems with a shared laser printer that was out of service for almost three weeks, and some computer network issues. At one time, I could not print from my computer to any of the multiple printers in the building. Thankfully, the technical problems are resolved although the personnel issues continue.
All of this somewhat explains why Sunday’s front page weather summary said the high would be 201 degrees. I freely admit it was totally my error. My brain and my typing weren’t on the same wavelength, and I forgot to proofread.
As you can see by the ad in this Newsgram, we’re still looking for a pressroom assistant. The 75 lb. lifting issue may scare people off. That’s the weight of the big metal shaft that is threaded through newsprint rolls to mount them on the press. We have a motorized lift to raise the half-ton newsprint rolls into position. Mechanical knowledge is a large part of the press operation.
Speaking of hot temperatures, there were also some rather heated discussions at the Alva City Council meeting last night. We’ll have stories from city council in the Friday and Sunday Alva Review-Courier. In the meantime, you can view the video I made of the meeting at http://www.AlvaReviewCourier.com. Just click on the “Videos” tab. There’s no sign-in requirement to see the videos or the online Newsgram (click on the “Newsgram” tab to the upper left of the home page).
Dealing with the Heat
Now let’s get back to the weather. As I write this column on Tuesday, the high in Alva is predicted at 113 degrees. The heat index could make it feel like 115, but I’m not sure a couple of degrees matters that much in this temperature range. As someone said the other day, Oklahoma has two seasons: hot and cold.
Northwest Family Services in Alva says they still have a few free fans left to give to those who need them. When I was growing up in Missouri with no air conditioning, we had fans in every bedroom at night to keep the air circulating. Now living in a two story house, I find my upstairs bedroom gets kind of toasty so I keep a small fan there, too.
Consumer Reports has an article on ways to keep your home comfortable during heat waves. I’ll summarize those here:
• Seal hot air out. To keep sweltering outdoor air from making its way into your home, caulk and weather strip doors and windows. Make sure your attic insulation is adequate.
• Block the sun. Close binds, drapes and shades, especially when the sun is hitting them. You might consider adding stick-on reflective or solar-blocking window film or mesh solar window screens.
• Be appliance wise. During the day’s heat, avoid running your clothes dryer or oven. Use the cold-water setting on your washing machine and the air-dry setting on your dishwasher. For cooking, a multi-cooker, microwave or toaster oven won’t heat up the kitchen the way your oven will.
• Consider bigger steps. Planting deciduous trees on the south side of your house provides shade in summer. Painting the exterior a light color will reflect heat instead of absorbing it.
• Flip a fan on. Ceiling, portable and window fans stir up breezes that speed sweat evaporation, which will help you feel cooler. Window fans pull outside air in and circulate it, so they may be most effective at night.
• Chill out at night. Natural, breathable bedding fabrics such as cotton and linen allow sweat to dissipate instead of locking it in the way synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon may. You might consider a mattress cooling pad or a mattress that retains less heat on hot nights.
• Position your A/C properly. Place window units in north-facing or shaded windows. A unit pounded by the sun will have to work much harder to cool the room. Keep heat-emitting objects such as computers, TVs and lamps out of the line of the unit’s airflow for the same reason.
• Give your A/C some TLC. Vacuum window unit filters every couple of weeks, wash the filters with warm water and soap at least every two months, and replace the filters when they’re worn. Make sure you replace filters for whole house units, too.
• Check A/C alternatives. Evaporative coolers, which are best for dry climates, chill outdoor air before it’s directed into your home. Another option is an energy-efficient electric heat pump, which provides cool air in the summer and heat in winter.
• Dress to cool. Loose, light, pale-colored clothing in breathable natural fibers like cotton and linen reflect heat instead of absorbing it and permit perspiration to evaporate. For exercise or outdoor physical work in the heat, active wear that’s moisture-wicking is a good choice.
• Prevent sunburn. Seek shade between 10 or 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. when possible. When you’re in the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat and apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. SPF 50 is better. Reapply every two hours and immediately after swimming or sweating.
• Watch for hot-car hazards. A car’s interior can heat up by 40 degrees within an hour, which can lead to dangerous or even deadly temperatures. Never leave anyone – especially children or pets – unattended in a vehicle.
These extremely high temperatures can be as dangerous as the freezing cold of winter so check on friends and relatives and those around you.