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Fairfax, VA, Letter Carrier Roy Sipe

Roy Sipe knows a thing or two about avoiding heat-related illnesses.

“It’s important to be proactive in hot weather,” says Sipe, a Fairfax, VA, letter carrier who’s been delivering mail for more than 30 years.

Sipe, who often trains new employees during the summer months, says preventing heat-related illnesses requires preparation.

To protect himself, he follows the guidelines that USPS provides employees who work in hot weather.

These tips include:

• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink at least 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes. “You have to make sure your body is fully hydrated each day. You have to drink plenty of fluids,” Sipe says.

• Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. “Start drinking water the night or day before. During the evening, I drink water with dinner to replenish my body,” he says.

• Dress appropriately. On warm days, wear light-colored, loose-fitting and breathable clothing to keep your body temperature down.

• Take a break. When you feel you’re getting overheated, get into the shade or somewhere with air conditioning, then immediately contact your supervisor using your Mobile Delivery Device or other locally established protocol.

Employees should also learn to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.

Employees experiencing symptoms such as profuse sweating, headaches, dizziness, nausea and confusion should call their supervisor and 911.

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