OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Each year there is an average of 67,512 emergency department visits due to heat in the United States.
"About 600 people a year die from heat-related illnesses,” said Phil Rooney with the Douglas County Health Department. “That's something we really want to prevent, those are preventable deaths."
Many may not be going out during the heat but some people have trouble keeping their homes cool.
"People over 65 years of age, it is advised that they should be at temperatures of 78 degrees or cooler,” Rooney said.
Westlake Ace Hardware and the Salvation Army are giving away free box fans to help those who do not have proper air conditioning in their home or who cannot afford to keep it running all day.
"To see the eyes light up, and to see one of our neighbors be able to know that today she is going to be a little cooler, and to lower her body temperature to a normal rate. Not really because of anything the Salvation Army has done, but because of the generosity of our friends like Westlake Hardware who is giving us these resources to invest in the lives of our neighbors," said Major Adam Moore, city coordinator for Omaha Salvation Army.
Westlake Ace Hardware was able to raise $8,500 from their generous shoppers to purchase over 600 box fans for those in need in our community.
"Because of the recent storms that have gone through that have negatively affected heating and air-conditioning systems, or our friends who are marginally challenged throughout the season to be able to stay cool,” Moore said.
"Right now with the electricity going out and the power outage, a lot of stuff still isn't working,” said fan recipient Andrea Davis. “The fan will be very beneficial for us at this time to keep the house cool."
Fans are a great option to keep air circulating but you also must stay hydrated even if you are not doing much physical activity.
As a reminder, the heat affects your animals as well. Don't let them sit out in the heat all day and make sure they have plenty of water. Never leave your pet or child in a hot car for any amount of time.
If you are in need of a fan, simply stop by the Salvation Army Burrows Center or give them a call to reserve a fan at no cost.