PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — While many have the luxury of working in air-conditioned environments for their 9 to 5, some still have to face the heat and work outdoors, even amid temperatures in the high 90s.

The Peoria Park District has many of these employees, whose jobs include:

  • Park maintenance
  • Golf course maintenance
  • Carpentry
  • Electrical and mechanical fixes
  • Landscaping
  • Construction
  • Arborists
  • Forestry work

According to Parks Division Superintendent Matt Freeman, most employees know to expect the sweltering summer days that Central Illinois can bring.

“Most of them have their own personal tricks to stay cool, and they know their limitations,” Freeman said. “But those that are new staff with us, supervisors certainly stay close.”

Examples of these “tricks” are cooling towels throughout the workday, and Freeman said some even bring a jug of water to pour over their head when they’re overheated.

“This time of year, it’s really just staying in tune with your body and the temperature and taking advantage of park spaces where there is shade,” he said.

Of course, Freeman said if conditions got so bad that they became a health risk, the park district can implement a “heat schedule.” Workers could then start earlier and avoid the hottest time of the day, in the mid-afternoon.

Events with the Peoria Park District are still on track to operate as of the time of this article, but Freeman said if the heat index gets too high, it could affect youth outdoor sports.

He said the adult heat index threshold is roughly 110 degrees.

Laura Bradley Park in Peoria was completely empty Tuesday afternoon, during the hottest hours of the day. Freeman said many park users got out early in the day and stayed in the shade.