Local public safety organizations are partnering together to keep senior citizens cooler this summer, hosting a fan drive from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Aug. 1-3 at the community room of the Covington Fire Department's headquarters, 2101 Pace Street, Covington.
Covington Fire Safety Educator Randy Ross said the giveaway is targeting senior citizens living in Covington who don't currently have proper cooling systems in their home.
The fans will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis with each household limited to two fans. Family members are allowed to pick up fans for elderly relatives.
The Covington Fire Department, Covington Police Department, Covington-Newton County 911 Center and Walmart are all partnering together to provide fans. Walmart provided an entire palette of new fans at a discounted price, while the public safety organizations contributed money to buy the fans and volunteers to get them and hand them out.
In addition to giving away fans, police officers and firefighters will be on hand to answer questions from the community.
Anyone with questions or who wants to donate to the cause can call the fire department headquarters at (770) 385-2100.
Extremely high temperatures can be dangerous for anyone, but people older than 50 are more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which is when the body's temperature rises above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service. The bodies of senior citizens are less able to self-regulate their internal temperature, making them more susceptible to temperature-related illnesses.
The Centers for Disease Control recommend people increase their fluid intake during hot weather regardless of activity level.
"Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour," the organization states on its website. "If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot."
In some cases, heat stroke can cause damage to the brain and other internal organ and can even cause death.
According to the National Weather Service, symptoms of heat stroke include hot dry skin, rapid and strong pulse and possible unconsciousness.
The recommended first aid steps including seeking immediate medical attention. If waiting for emergency assistance, move the victim to a cooler environment, reduce body temperature with cold bath or sponging, remove clothing and use fans and air conditioners. The weather service said people should not give fluids.