Beating the heat

Raissa Tetanish
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AMHERST - While many people might be complaining about the summer heat, Roland Langis and his crew don winter clothing on a daily basis.

Langis is the leader for the receiving department at GFS, formerly M&S Food Service Ltd., a department that sees workers inside a freezer numerous times a day.

"First thing in the morning, we get suited up to put our product away in the freezer," Langis said while the temperature outside registered around 27 degrees Celsius.

To head into the freezer, employees have freezer pants and jackets that are rated for -30 degrees Fahrenheit and boots rated for -50.

The freezer itself is a temperature of -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

"We also carry extra liners in case our feet start to get cold, and the employees have ski masks and mittens."

When not in the freezer, employees still face temperatures cooler than outside.

With three different zones, they can find themselves anywhere from room temperature to 20 below.

"Once the workers finish in the freezer, there's still work to do in the dry and cool zones, so their body temperatures can adjust gradually," Langis said. "We never take an employee and immediately go outside."

Langis said he and the rest of the employees at GFS are usually in and out of the freezer, but can sometimes stay in for as long as an hour.

"We don't encourage anyone to stay in the freezer too long because it's harder to get the chill out of your body.

Because of the difference in temperatures, Langis said employees will stay indoors for coffee breaks, and only go outside if they have to, such as on a cigarette break.

"If they do go outside for a smoke break, they usually keep their (freezer) suits on," Langis said.

The reasoning behind that is to keep as much moisture out of the suit as possible, otherwise the body gets colder quicker.

Although there are some workers that aren't able to handle the temperatures of the three zones, Langis said most people would be surprised to find out how many actually prefer to work in the freezer.

"I've been doing this for 25 years and I would rather be on the cool side than the dry," he said.

Organizations: M&S Food Service

Geographic location: AMHERST

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