Louisiana Mailman Falls Victim to Summer Heat

Louisiana Mailman Falls Victim to Summer Heat

United States Postal Service letter carrier Brian Johnson, 55, wipes the sweat from his forehead while delivering mail on his 400 house postal route Monday, July 1, 2013 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

July 17, 2015  Monroe, LA — “You think you know your own body,” says Paul Newman/ Monroe Mailman.

Extreme summer heat can take it’s toll quicker than you think. Especially if you work outside like mailman, Paul Newman, it almost took his life.

“I just picked up a Gatorade from another customer of mine but I just started cramping up and by the time I dropped a customers mail off I just lost it. I started getting sick,” says Newman.

It was just another day on the job when Newman fell victim to the heat. A pain and sickness he says he has never experienced.

“I just got over heated and started cramping,” says Newman.

“He had collapsed from heat exhaustion,” says John Reynolds/ Local DJ.

Luckily, local DJ, John Reynolds was nearby.

“He was not in great shape. His muscles were kind of seizing up and he was still soaking wet and you could tell he was a bit disoriented,” says Reynolds.

Plenty of water, staying cool, and getting rest while outdoors can save your life.

“Unfortunately the way I learned it is going to keep me and it’s going to affect me for the rest of my life the way it’s hit me. But people just drink that’s all you can do. If you feel tired take a break,” says Newman.

via Monroe Mailman Falls Victim to Summer Heat

5 thoughts on “Louisiana Mailman Falls Victim to Summer Heat

  1. I was a rural carrier for 11 yrs. It’s a hard gruesome job dealing with weather, defensively driving to avoid opportunist drivers trying cause a deliberate accident in hopes of lawsuit against USPS, small window of time to prep mail, continuous pressure from supvsrs, and the list goes on and on. I just want to warn fellow carriers to NOT. DRINK G A T O R A D E. during summerheat. Gatorade quenches your thirst and makes you NOT crave water when you need it. Stick to water….plenty of water.

  2. My spouse was the carrier that was denied to come home because he just returned to work from vacation. He passed away and I went to court to prevent more deaths. Call OSHA. That is what they are fighting for. Management in Independece Mo bullied all the carriers. If you do not want to call OSHA I will do it for you. I can be found if you really need me. I am known by most of OSHA and the lawyer for OSHA. Do not let my spouse’s death be for nothing.

  3. All curbside boxes and air conditioning in the new vehicles would solve a lot of these issues. Unfortunately, our union leader won’t allow it. That should tell you how much he values each of us. Show Fred the $ in the way of dues, and he will continue to fight against the curbside issue.

  4. This is why DOIS numbers are contractually just a tool and are not the law, we as carriers have to have the guts to stand up for ourselves in the morning to ask for an extra amount of time needed to complete the route in extreme heat, and have the guts to call by your local SOP’s time to give them an update if you are running (excuse me, walking) behind later in the day from your previous estimate, cuz the reality is, YOU YOU YOU are your best defense against heat related illnesses and injuries. Your health and safe return from work every day is way more important than being on some damn managers or supervisors goody-two shoes list! Drink cold water by the boatload, utilize vitamins and old fashioned potassium found in a banana or two a day, and if you normally don’t take lunch breaks in fast food restaurants to save money like I do, break away from the norm and take your lunch inside an air-conditioned eating establishment, it will cool you down temporarily. Walk through the running sprinklers to douse yourself with water which will also evaporate to keep your skin cool. I try to avoid overly salty foods the day before or the day of extremely hot days as when the salty sweat gets in your eyes, it can hurt like a b^#@h. Hit the shady spots whenever you can, bring along a spray bottle and spray a little water in your face occasionally. Also for the cold water, one way to intensify the affect of the cold is to by drinking water refilled powerade bottles that are frozen from the previous night so they are constantly melting throughout the day. I bring three of those @ 32 ozers so if one has not melted enough to get a big cold swig, the other two will provide you with some on a rotating basis. And if they are all down to just ice, take the one with the biggest block of ice inside it and leave it in your window in between splits, it will melt a little faster and still give you the affect of cold water when you drink it as the melted water is being impacted by that big block of ice. Also, plan on bringing along at least 200 oz of fluid, mostly water for these days. That sounds like a lot to the average person, but believe it, you will sweat most of it out. I once worked a mostly mounted route on a day where the high temp was 100 with 90 % humidity and drank all of 280 oz of fluids and only needed one bathroom break for a 9 hour day day due to it almost all sweating out. Take care of yourselves, this is the toughest time of the year for some of us in this job, and it is worth your returning home alive and in ok health, albeit quite exhausted, to take as long as it takes for you to be safe and not put yourself in harms way under the duress of managerial pressure to make their numbers, none of which give you credit for conditions such as extreme summer heat. Fear no ninny, lily livered air-conditioned air loving member of mgmt who tries to pressure you when you ask for the extra time, and furthermore, invite them to come walk with you on really hot days if they don’t believe that you need to take the time to drink extra water and stay cool and safe by whatever means necessary. They can get a little taste of what you have to endure every day & 99 % of them will run and hide like roaches being scared by “seeing the light” if you request they come and take a walk with you. Make sure if you don’t have a two seater and/or you have a mounted route, ask for them to temporarily put the second seat in the back for their comfort so we can save the USPS money and they don’t have to ask to be reimbursed for mileage following you with their own vehicle and also so they can enjoy the all day ride with no air-conditioning right there with you. (with any luck you also ate a couple of cans of the highest fiber beans the night before) Take care out there and be safe!

  5. I’m a retired letter carrier, but I had my heat stroke at age 20 while in the Navy in north Florida, having just come out of a practice jet fuel fire that I had extinguished. When I took off my ‘hot suit’ helmet, the blast of 85-degree-and-100%-humidity August-in-Florida air that hit my face felt like arctic air…That’s how hot my body temp was! I instantly passed out, was out for nearly 20 minutes
    I was lucky. I did kill off brain cells, but my impediment — even today at age 68 — is serious health problems at high, humid temps! I get dizzy, lose peripheral vision, and become nauseated. I survived 41 summers in the USPS by keeping my body temp down by any means necessary…drenching myself with customers’ garden hoses, standing in sprinklers, going to a 7-11 to cool down in the air conditioning.
    Your sweat cools you. It’s when you STOP SWEATING, that the danger is highest! PLEASE STAY HYDRATED INSIDE, AND COOL OUTSIDE!!!

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