Electric fans available to North Carolina seniors

Published 11:20 am Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When the thermometer rises, so does the need to assist those in need.

Operation Fan/Heat Relief – a summer fan distribution program that operates each year throughout North Carolina – is now underway. The Division of Aging and Adult Services in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has managed the program since it began in 1986.

With the heat of the summer upon us – evident by last week’s triple-digit air temperatures as well as the heat index reaching 110 degrees in some areas – the time is right to help senior citizens.

“Chronic health problems in older people often require medication that can affect the body’s natural defenses against heat and humidity,” said Dennis Streets, Division of Aging and Adult Services Director. “These fans can be a lifesaver for some and help all recipients stay more comfortable and healthier in their home.”

Here in the Roanoke-Chowan area, senior citizens can contact the Office on Aging in their county of residence. Those contact numbers are as follows:

Bertie County: 794-5315

Gates County: 357-1380 (Health Dept.)

Hertford County: 358-7856

Northampton County: 534-1668

“For many years, Dominion North Carolina Power, Duke Energy, Progress Energy and the Valassis Giving Committee have donated generously to support this important program,” Streets said. “The program has been successful because of the concerted efforts of the 17 regional Area Agencies on Aging and the local aging and adult service provider agencies which purchase and make fans available to eligible people.”

Last year, donations totaled $98,500, and with these funds, 5,423 fans and 51 air conditioners were purchased. In certain counties air conditioners are made available for people with more serious health problems. There is no public money associated with this project.

People who are 60 or older or people with disabilities are eligible to receive one fan per year to help alleviate heat problems within their home.

More information can be found by calling local aging agencies or on the web at www.ncdhhs.gov/aging/heat.htm.