Raleigh, N.C. — Wake County deputies are helping vulnerable populations ride out the most recent heat wave safely.
The Wake County Sheriff's Office runs a program in which elderly people who live alone can enroll. Deputies then call daily to make sure the elderly participants are doing fine.
"Once we don't make contact by phone ... if we have a person closer by, like a brother, sister, uncle or aunt, we call them, notify them," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.
"And, hopefully, they'll be there at the same time we are or sooner," he said.
The four-year-old program has helped save lives when the Triangle experiences weather extremes, including winter cold spells or the most recent heat wave that has temperatures threatening to hit 100 degrees, officials said.
The deputies become someone the elderly participants feel they can express their needs to, Harrison said.
"If it's too hot in there (the program participants' houses), if it's too cold in the wintertime, they let us know about it, and we try to get them help," Harrison said.
Deputies often form bonds with the elderly people they call every day of the year, Harrison said.
"Some of the deputies sort of adopt these people, and they go by on a regular basis," Harrison said.
Forty-eight Wake residents are enrolled in the program, which is free.
To qualify, residents must be at least 65 years old and live alone.