How the heat is impacting local workers, businesses

Medford, Ore. — The hot weather is forcing local workers, to change their routines. That could impact your commute, errands, or even your lunch plans.

“I care more about my guys than I do about making money,” Empire Auto Body owner, Robert Scott says.

At Empire, the triple digit heat is causing single digit work shifts.

“We can’t do anything,” Scott says, “we can’t paint, it’s just not productive.”

The shop was pulling 10 hour days for most of the summer, but is now closing up early.

“With the heat going on it’s just too much,” Scott adds.

“I can’t think of anything we couldn’t do due to the heat,” Medford Public Works Director, Cory Crebbin says.

For public works crews, work isn’t stopping, but some employees are clocking in earlier than usual.

“We’ll start as early as 3 o’clock in the morning,” Crebbin says.

But if it’s in a residential area, work can’t begin until 7, that’s when water, and shade really help.

“Put some heat shades on some of the equipment that normally employees would be sitting in the sun as they operate it to try to keep that direct radiation off of them, Crebbin says.

And while it’s uncomfortable outside, working inside for some, can be even worse.

“With the cookers that they have inside their food trucks, their food trucks are reaching 130 degrees once the heat reaches this point,” Tanner Elliott of Ooblies Waffles says of some og his fellow food trucks.

On 10th and Riverside, you’ll usually find half a dozen food trucks. But on Tuesday, the only two on site,  are the ones with a/c.

“It makes it bearable to work that’s for sure, it’s not super comfortable but it gets the job done,” Elliott says.

Even with a fryer, an oven, and a griddle, Elliott’s evaporative air cooler can drop the temperature inside as much as 20 degrees. So as longs as it keeps working, they will too.

“I think we’re just gonna have some fun with it, maybe throw a pan out in the parking lot, cook some eggs see what happens,” Elliott says.

Ooblies Waffles is offering free water any day its over 100 degrees to make sure its customers are staying safe. And public works posts signs with reminders and tips to stay safe on the job in this heat.

Kristin Hosfelt anchors NBC5 News weeknights at 5, 6 and 11. Originally from the Bay Area, Kristin earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from San Jose State University.

She came to KOBI-TV/NBC5 from Bangor, Maine where she was the evening news anchor. Kristin has won multiple journalism awards including Best Feature Reporting in the State of Maine. In 2017, her investigation on lead pipes in Medford’s water system was named Best News Series by the Oregon Association of Broadcasters.

When Kristin is not sharing the news, she’s traveling, hunting down the best burrito, or buried in a Jodi Picoult novel. She’s also a Green Bay Packers shareholder; if you see her out and about she’d be happy to tell you the story of how a California girl became a cheesehead.

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