If you think you’re immune to heat stress or other forms of heat illness, you might want to give that a little more thought. I, as a Loss Prevention Engineer, felt that way and paid the price one Saturday afternoon a few years ago. I had asked a carpenter friend of mine to help me build a patio deck in my back yard. 

It was the middle of August. With highs of 95 degrees expected that day, we got an early start—around 7:30 in the morning. But, everything came to a screeching halt about five hours later. I was losing my balance, felt weak, and a bit dizzy, and my hands and feet were tingling. I knew something wasn’t right, so I went to my garage and sat down on a bench.

My friend recognized right away that I was suffering from heat stress. He immediately got a fan, turned it on, and told me to stay seated. He also got a towel soaked with cool water and placed it over my neck. Then he told me I was done for the day.

I made three key mistakes that day. My hope is that by telling this story, others won’t make those same mistakes.