City provides fans to help families during summer months

MGN
Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 12:27am

The Borderland is in a heat advisory and that means dangerous conditions for some of our most vulnerable residents. The advisory is in effect until Thursday morning and the city is now stepping in to help keep locals safe through the Extreme Weather Task Force. The program delivers free fans to those who need one.

Grace Ortiz says she has never been so busy as she unloads a fan for delivery.

"I'm bringing you the fan that you registered for. Try to do your errands in the morning, late in the afternoon. Try to stay out of the heat, and make sure you all drink lots of water," said Ortiz to the woman who answers the door.

Ortiz leads the Extreme Weather Task Force, a donation based program that provides fans to people in need. And so far this summer's intense heat has Ortiz delivering 375 of them.

She hopes to prevent people from getting sick or worse,dying from heat stress or heat stroke.

"They don't realize that heat exhaustion is upon them," said Ortiz.

Wednesday, Janet Carrera gets help from this heat. She called and asked for a fan, after she was worried her infant son would suffer.

"When it's humid, it's like a boiling point. We just need to get some air," said Carrera.

"It gets really claustrophobic, so it's better for him. That will help out to ventilate the air. I want him to be comfortable. I want him to be relaxed, that he's not hot,” said Carrera.

Infants, people with disabilities and the elderly are the most at risk.. Last summer, two people died from the heat. One of them an older woman at home alone.

"When the family went into the mobile home, they found her extremely lethargic. Her mental status was altered. She was confused," said Ortiz.

Firefighter Kevin Mende explains.

"When your body is to the breaking point, of generating heat and not being able to compensate. Which that can progress into heat stroke, when your body is no longer able to compensate with the heat," said Mende.

Ortiz stresses the importance of checking on people who live alone, or disabled or are elderly.

"People don't realize that, but just that one phone call, you're saving a life," said Ortiz.

Carrera can now be comfortable raising her son at home.

"It helps with the community a lot," said Carrera.

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