Raleigh, N.C. — During a 100-degree heat wave, the breeze from a 20-inch box fan can be a life-saver.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, East Raleigh resident Dedra Offei received a free fan Thursday, the day before a predicted four-day stretch of 100-degree-plus temperatures.
"Just a little bit more air means it's a little bit easier for me to breath," Offei said. "I'm just thankful. I'm really blessed."
Offei suffers from congestive heart failure, and the back bedroom in her Friar Tuck Lane home gets stuffy in the summer.
"Starting around 11 (a.m.) or 12 (p.m.), you just get to gasping for air, huffing and puffing," she said.
Fans don't just provide comfort in the heat, but also give relief to vulnerable people with health problems, said Lachia Moreland, a case manager with the nonprofit Resources for Seniors.
"Some of our seniors may have health conditions that require them to be in cool environments," Moreland said.
"Especially people with a heat-sensitive medical condition, even though the fan doesn't cool the house like an air conditioner, it circulates the air, and that can help a great deal," said Crystal Black, adult services director for the Cumberland County Department of Social Services.
The fans can be cool relief for seniors fallen on hard times.
"The AC might go out, and they might not have the money to repair it, so the fan program does help to keep them cool," Moreland said.
Progress Energy and community donations provided the free fans handed out to clients of Resources for Seniors. Other local county agencies, including Cumberland, Wake and Orange county departments of social services, also have free fan programs.
A lobby at the Cumberland County social services building, 1224 Ramsey St., and the Durham Rescue Mission, 1201 E. Main St., are also open for people who don't have air conditioning.