As the weather starts warming up, the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services is partnering with the NC Area Agencies on Aging and local service providers to distribute fans to eligible recipients through Operation Fan Heat Relief May 1–Oct. 31.
People 60 and older, as well as adults with disabilities, are eligible to sign up for assistance from May 1–Oct. 31 at local aging agencies across the state. 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.
As individuals age and develop chronic medical conditions, they are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. They 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 60 and older, as well as adults with disabilities, can take the following steps during high temperatures:
- Increase fluid intake
- Spend some 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 drugs)
Given the spread of COVID-19, people should check on neighbors and friends aged 60 and older by phone or internet during high temperatures when possible. Visiting a cool space in the house of a neighbor or friend is recommended if one doesn’t have adequate cooling, but physical distancing of at least 6 feet, wearing a cloth face covering and hand-washing should be practiced.
The program is made possible by donations from Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, and Dominion Resources, which allow regional area agencies on aging and provider agencies to purchase fans for eligible individuals. Provider agencies can also purchase a limited number of air conditioners based on a person’s specific health conditions.
Last year, the division received $85,600 in donations, allowing for the distribution of 5,185 fans and 27 air conditioners.
For more details, individuals may contact their Area Agency on Aging or the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services’ Housing Program Consultant at 919-855-3419.
More information about Operation Fan Heat Relief, including tips on preparing for extreme heat and a list of local agencies distributing fans, is available at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/operation-fan-and-heat-relief.