It’s spring now and, while a young man’s fancy turns to you know what in spring, others are just worried about how to affordably stay cool in the coming summer months. 

Well, just as it has for many past summers, the state of North Carolina, working with non-profits and the energy companies, has a free solution for those who are eligible.

Starting on Saturday, May 1 the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services is teaming up with the NC Area Agencies on Aging and others to distribute fans to eligible recipients through “Operation Fan Heat Relief.” 

The program runs through Halloween this year – when things should certainly be starting to cool down.

People 60 and older, as well as adults with disabilities, are eligible for the assistance in the form of free electric fans or even free air conditioners.

Since 1986, the program has purchased fans and air conditioners and distributed them to older adults and people with disabilities to help them keep comfortable, as well as to reduce heat-related illnesses during the state’s hottest months.

 Last year, the division gave out over 4,800 fans and about 30 air conditioners through the program.

Operation Fan Heat Relief is made possible by donations from Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, Dominion Resources and Valassis.  Those donations allow regional area agencies on aging and other agencies to purchase fans for eligible individuals.

The agencies can also buy and distribute a limited number of air conditioners when certain health conditions come into play.

According to state officials promoting the program this week: “As individuals age and develop chronic medical conditions, they are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. They may also be taking medications that can worsen the impact of extreme heat.”

Now that the heat is arriving in North Carolina in force, state health officials are also advising people – especially the elderly and those with disabilities – to increase their intake of water and other refreshing beverages and to regularly spend some time in cool or air-conditioned environments.

For more details, people can contact their local Area Agency on Aging or call the Division of Aging and Adult Services’ housing program consultant at 919-855-3419.

More information about the program – including tips on preparing for extreme heat and a list of the agencies distributing fans –  can be found at