North Carolina -- May 1, 2022: The Division of Aging and Adult Services of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is teaming with the N.C. Area Agencies on Aging and local service providers to provide fans to qualified users through Operation Fan Heat Relief, which runs from May 1 to October 31.

From May 1 through October 31, those aged 60 and above, as well as persons with impairments, can sign up for support at local aging agencies across the state. Since 1986, the relief program has provided fans for elderly and disabled people, allowing them to live in a more pleasant environment and minimizing heat-related ailments.

Donations from Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, Dominion Resources, and Valassis made the initiative possible, and it allows regional area agencies on aging and local provider agencies to purchase fans for qualifying individuals. A limited number of air conditioners can also be purchased by local provider organizations based on a person's specific health conditions.

DAAS collected $85,500 in donations last year, allowing them to distribute 3,240 fans and 26 air conditioners.

Individuals are less likely to perceive and respond to changes in temperature as they age and have chronic medical illnesses, and they may also be taking medications that exacerbate the effects of high heat. During the summer, Operation Fan Heat Relief assists vulnerable adults who are at risk of heat-related illnesses stay safe.

During hot weather, those aged 60 and up, as well as adults with disabilities, can take the following steps in addition to applying for fans:

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)
For more details, individuals may contact their area agency on aging or the 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 here

Wnctimes by Marjorie Farrington