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MMDA allows personnel to have 30-minute 'heat stroke break' amid hot weather

To avoid heat stroke amid rising temperatures, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will give its field personnel short 30-minute breaks while on duty starting April 1 until May 31.

MMDA acting chairman Romando Artes signed a memorandum circular reimplementing the "heat stroke break" to protect field personnel from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and heat cramps due to severe heat waves.

"This move is part of the agency’s efforts to prevent heat-related illness among our outdoor workers who brave the searing heat every day to fulfill their duties and responsibilities," Artes said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Their safety is of paramount importance."

Traffic enforcers and street sweepers will be allowed to leave their posts in shifts to seek shelter from the sun and take a 30-minute break to allow their bodies to cool down, the MMDA said.

Artes said field personnel can also take an additional 15-minute break time in case the heat index or the “human discomfort index” in Metro Manila reaches 40 degrees Celsius and above.

The heat stroke break will be implemented daily through rotation, Artes added.

According to the MMDA, the following are the prescribed time for heat stroke breaks for different shifts of traffic enforcers:

  • 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. shift - heat stroke break from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. or 10:30 am to 11 a.m.
  • 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. shift - heat stroke break from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift - heat stroke break  from 11 a.m. to 11:30 am or 11:30 am to 12 noon
  • 2 p.m. to 10 pm shift - heat stroke break from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, for street sweepers:

  • 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift - heat stroke break from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon
  • 7 a.m .to 4 p.m. shift - regular break time from 12 noon to 1 p.m.
  • 11 a.m .to 7 p.m. shift - heat stroke break from 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Department of Health has cautioned the public against heat exhaustion now that the dry season is officially in effect.

Left untreated, heat exhaustion may progress to heat stroke, which in turn can damage the brain and other parts of the body and cause death. —Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA Integrated News