STATE: Operation Fan Heat Relief distributes fans

As temperatures begin rising, 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 through Operation Fan Heat Relief May 1-Oct. 31 to help older adults at risk stay safe this summer.

People 60 and older, as well as adults with disabilities, are eligible to sign up for assistance 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.

The program is made possible by donations 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, the NCDHHS Division of Aging and Adult Services received $85,1374 in donations, allowing for the distribution of 3,793 fans and 23 air conditioners.

As individuals age and develop chronic medical conditions, they are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature, and 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 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)

For more details, individuals may contact their area agency on aging or the Division of Aging and Adult Services at 919-855-3400.

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.