Workers painting the exterior of Centennial Hill Hospital this week will arrive on the job site at the crack of dawn to get started.
The goal is simple: Conclude the shift around 1 p.m., just when the Las Vegas heat will be at its peak for the day.
The instructions are also simple: Stay safe from the elements, even if it means not completing all of the tasks for the day, said Eunice Diestro, a project manager with SR Construction, a Las Vegas contractor handling the hospital renovations and expansion.
The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning through 9 p.m. Saturday for Southern Nevada, portions of northwest Arizona and southeast California. The service projects the high temperature today will reach 116 degrees, which would establish a new record high for the valley. The previous high for June 16 was 114 degrees in 1940.
The forecast has many in the area on guard.
Clark County has launched cooling stations throughout the valley, groups working with the homeless population are stocking up on water and preparing cooling shelters, youth activities have been canceled, and many have altered plans to only leave the house in the morning or evenings, when it’s not as hot.
Those who will be in the heat are also making accommodations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued heat safety tips. They include:
— Stay hydrated. In addition to drinking plenty of water, avoid alcoholic drinks, caffeine or those high in sugar. Also, don’t have a heavy meal before leaving the house.
— Wear sunscreen. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. Use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
— Be smart. Schedule outdoor activities when it is the coolest, or simply cancel them. Rest in shady areas. When outside, wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
— Watch out for your neighbor. Check on elderly family and neighbors, and do so multiple times a day. Those 65 and older are more at risk of heat illness.
— While inside: To maintain a cooler temperature in your home, use your stove less often. Electric fans will provide comfort, but with temperatures over 100 degrees, they won’t stop heat-related illness. Cool off with a cold shower.
— What if my air conditioner gives out? If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library — even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. You can also seek refuge at one of the Clark County cooling stations.
— Use the buddy system. When working outside, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you.
— Keep an eye on children, pets. Do not leave children or pets in a vehicle. Cars can heat to dangerous temperatures, even with the windows cracked.
Take SR Construction, whose morning briefing to workers includes heat stroke warning signs. It has a tent set up at each job site for workers to take reprieve from the sun — and not only when they feel the impact of the elements. All workers are required to take all breaks in the shade.
“You don’t want to assume someone is used to the heat, because that’s when it gets dangerous,” Diestro said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued tips for preventing heat-related illness, stressing the importance of staying hydrated and indoors. And when outside, the CDC suggested wearing lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Other pointers: Wear sunscreen, and lots of it; drink plenty of fluids, and avoid sugary drinks and alcohol; when outside, pace yourself; know the warning signs of heat illness. Those, according to the CDC, include: overheating, throbbing headache, confusion, fever, blurred vision, dizziness and more.
Dr. Paul Chestovich, an assistant professor in the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV…