Fans for heat relief available for older adults and adults with disabilities in North Carolina

Published 8:32 am Thursday, May 5, 2022

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The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Aging and Adult Services is partnering with the N.C. Area Agencies on Aging and local service providers to distribute fans to eligible recipients via Operation Fan Heat Relief from May 1 through Oct. 31, 2022.

People age 60 and older, as well as adults with disabilities, are eligible to sign up for assistance. Since 1986, the relief program has purchased fans for older adults and adults with disabilities, providing them with a more comfortable living environment and reducing heat-related illnesses.

To participate in the program in Dare County, people should call Dare County Family Services at 475-5500 or talk with Sandy Pace at the Virginia S. Dare Community Center at 475-9270.

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The program is made possible by donations from Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, Dominion Resources and Valassis and allows regional area agencies on aging and local provider agencies to purchase fans for eligible individuals. Local provider agencies can also purchase a limited number of air conditioners based on a person’s specific health conditions.

Last year, DAAS received $85,500 in donations, allowing for the distribution of 3,240 fans and 26 air conditioners.

As individuals age and develop chronic medical conditions, they are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature and may also be taking medications that can worsen the impact of extreme heat. Operation Fan Heat Relief helps vulnerable adults at risk for heat-related illnesses stay safe during the summer.

In addition to applying for fans, people age 60 and older, as well as adults with disabilities, can take the following steps during high temperatures:

– Increase fluid intake.

– Spend time in cool or air-conditioned environments regularly.

– Reduce strenuous activity during the afternoon.

– Speak with their physician before summer about how to stay safe while taking medication that can affect the body’s ability to cool itself (e.g., high blood pressure medications).