Fans come in handy for some as heat wave continues
By Shavonne Potts
The heat finally got to be too much for East Spencer resident Elaine Banks.
Banks, who has health issues that prevent her from being in direct heat, needed outside help to cool her home.
On Friday, she received a fan from the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center.
“I don’t have air, but since I got it yesterday, it’s been going nonstop. It was super hot in here,” she said from her home.
Banks said she is thankful to the program for providing her a fan.
As the temperature continues to hover around record-breaking triple digits, officials remind people to check on the sick or elderly neighbors and family members.
The people who report to the emergency department are usually those with health issues including diabetes, asthma or other respiratory illness and those who “don’t deal with temperature very well,” said Jennifer Auten, a nurse manager at Rowan Regional Medical Center.
Auten said heat can compound problems for people with respiratory illnesses or other similar issues.
She recommends people not only replace the fluids lost in sweat with water, but a sports drink like Gatorade that would replace the lost electrolytes.
As of Friday, 96 fans have been distributed said Steve Simpson, information and assistance manager at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center.
There are still about 50 names on a waiting list.
The Rowan County United Way provided funding this week so that the agency could purchase 30 more fans.
The initial fans were provided through Centralina Agency on Aging as well as Duke Energy and Beta Sigma Phi, a service sorority. Donations also came in from the community.
Sometimes people donate money or a fan.
For more information about the fan program, contact Rufty-Holmes Senior Center at 704-216-7714.
Roxy Cribb and her son, Kurt, stopped by Rowan Helping Ministries on Friday to distribute cold water to the clients.
Cribb said her church prayer group met and talked about how they could help the homeless. She prayed about how she could give back and when the temperatures spiked, she knew.
“The Lord told me to take them cold water,” she said.
Cribb attends Rowan Christian Assembly.
She said there are a lot of people who don’t bring in enough income or don’t have a job. This was a way she and her church could help.
Not only did mother and son give water, but they passed out cold watermelon and freshly baked cookies.
She hopes this inspires other to do as her church did and give in a similar way.
Executive Director Kyna Foster said the facility’s dining room will be open for extended hours to allow people to escape the heat.
There is also help for people through the agency’s Crisis Assistance Network where if someone has a medical condition, with a doctor’s note, may receive a window fan unit. To see if you qualify, contact the agency at 704-633-5771.
Foster said the agency has received private donations and funds from Duke Energy to help with utility bills to “keep the power going and the air running.”
The agency is also in the midst of taking steps to keep people in the shade.
The tree that used to provide shade outside the Long Street facility died and had to be removed. Foster said they are hoping to erect a structure to provide some shade.
When the temperature climbed the staff and volunteers at Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary had to rethink how they care for the animals.
President Mary Padavick said they are taking precautions especially keeping the animals well hydrated by placing ice cubes in their bowls.
The volunteers and staff make sure walks have occurred before 11 a.m. or after dinner.
“During the high heat and sun, we make sure the dogs are in the building,” she said.
They are also limiting strenuous exercise and making sure to keep the dogs off the hot pavement.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.
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