Hot jobs in the Ozarks

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BILLINGS, Mo. (KSPR) - When it’s this hot outside, being outdoors can become dangerous in a matter of minutes. Especially if you're stuck outside working in the heat.

You’re supposed to wear lightweight, loose clothing if you’re outside working in extreme heat. But if you’re a firefighter and someone’s house is burning, you don’t have that option.

“Like being in your own oven. The gear’s about 200 pounds. And we’re talking head to toe. Boots and everything. There’s no alternative to it. You have to wear the gear to protect yourself from those extreme temperatures,” said Billings Fire Protection District Chief Henry Bos.

He says this afternoon, he jumped into action when he saw smoke coming from a house

“I was working on a lawnmower on a farm across the street and came right on over to make sure everybody was out,” he said.

Bos says that’s when he knew it was time to call for backup.

“You can’t be a hero on a fire like this. You have to work with others. You’ve got to get help,” he explained.

Firefighters in came from Clever, Republic, and even Nixa to help knock out the Billings Fire Protection District. Bos says they worked in short shifts to avoid heat exhaustion. With the heat index, it felt like temperatures neared 100 degrees on Wednesday.

“Very short time, and you had to trade,” he said, “It’s just too hot.”

Bos says everyone who lives in the house is okay, but the heat got to a couple of firefighters.

“We had the ambulance service here, and rehab. I think everybody’s fine. I don’t know of anybody that needed transport,” said Bos.

But when it’s this hot, you’ll even work up a sweat in the shade.

“It’s really hot today. Today and yesterday has been really bad,” said Sierra Wilson, who was selling fruit on the side of Highway 60.

“We put up this tent today to kind of give us some extra shade. We don’t normally do that. We make a lot of trips over to Casey’s to get water and drinks,” she said.

But she says hotter temperatures mean better business.

“They love to buy watermelon and cantaloupe if it’s hot and just stick it in their refrigerator,” said Wilson.

Caleb Kruse also has a hot job selling cold treats. He drives an ice cream truck without a roof, or AC.

“What gets me going is it’s going to pay the bills and I’m going to get a nice tan out of it,” he laughed.

Cheif Bos says no matter what you’re doing outside in this summer, drink a lot of water.

“Whether it’s firefighting or mowing the yard, keep yourself hydrated,” said Bos.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, you should hydrate by drinking water and diluted electrolyte drinks. The recommendation is combining one part sport drink to two parts water. Also, limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours if possible.