The tragic death of a U.S. postal worker whose body was found in her truck is a sad reminder of the real dangers faced by professional drivers during extreme hot weather.
On Friday, July 7, veteran postal worker and grandmother Peggy Frank, 63, was found unresponsive in her unair-conditioned mail truck as temperatures soared to 120 degrees in Southern California. Paramedics attempted to revive Frank but were unsuccessful.
Frank’s official cause of death has not been released, but her family told Fox 11 that they believe heat exhaustion is to blame for her death. July 7 was Frank’s first day back on the job after recovering from a broken ankle.
The U.S. Postal Service issued a statement on Frank’s death: “Safety is our top priority for all our employees. The Postal Service strives to ensure that they have the tools and training to do so safely.”
As temperatures move into triple digits in many parts of the county, the death of Frank highlights the dangers that drivers can be exposed to in extreme heat.
For truck drivers who are often forced to sit or even sleep in hot trucks because of anti-idling laws, summer heat can quickly turn from uncomfortable to deadly. In temperatures as low as 90 degrees, the interior of an unair-conditioned semi truck can easily reach a dangerous 120 degrees.
Take a look at the signs of heatstroke below.
Symptoms of Heatstroke
- High body temperature. A body temperature that is over 104 degrees is a tell-tale symptom of heatstroke.
- Strange behavior. Heatstroke can cause slurred speech, delirium, confusion, agitation, or other strange behavior.
- Altered sweating patterns. Heatstroke can actually cause your body to stop sweating.
- Increased heart rate. A racing heart can be a big heatstroke warning sign.
- Nausea. An upset stomach, abdominal cramping, or vomiting associated with high temperatures could mean you’re suffering from heatstroke.
- Reddened skin. Flushed skin could mean you or one of your passengers has heatstroke.
Once you see signs of heatstroke in yourself, your co-driver or spouse, or even your pet, it is essential to act fast. Heatstroke can turn deadly in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. Seek medical treatment immediately if you suspect heatstroke.
And don’t be afraid to check in on your fellow drivers if you feel they may be in danger of heatstroke!