Low-income seniors who need help preparing for extreme heat events this summer are the focus of a new project from Chilliwack & District Seniors’ Resources Society.
They’ll be handing out heat-preparedness kits and fans to seniors in need.
“Right now we have 50 kits available,” said Kelly Velonis, executive director of the Chilliwack & District Seniors’ Resources Society.
The heat kits include a tip sheet for battling the heat, where to go, who to call, and ways to keep cool with ice packs, a water mister, a battery-operated fan, water, and community resources.
The idea for distributing the 50 kits and 31 fans came after the extreme heat experienced in B.C. over the past two summers where they fielded calls of concern about isolated seniors at risk.
The local seniors’ organization wanted to be proactive in the wake of the heat dome of 2021 that saw temperatures reach 43C, and the heat waves of last summer, by partnering with agencies including those in Chilliwack Healthier Community’s seniors healthy aging sub-committee.
An emergency preparedness grant from the United Way has allowed the seniors’ society to hire a part-time emergency preparedness co-ordinator who sourced the most up-to-date information and heat prevention items to help in the event of extreme heat.
When winter rolls around, they’ll create kits to stave off extreme cold as well, she added.
Separate from the kits project, with the support of Carman United Church, and a donation through the General Store, they were able to purchase more than 30 electric fans to distribute to the members of their food hamper program, and others.
“We’re working with other organizations in the community to find those low-income seniors who may have fallen through the cracks but who need the most support, and who don’t have a family member or somebody close by that can assist them,” Velonis said.
They’re trying to pull it all together quickly.
“We want to get these fans out to people prior to the next heat wave, as well as the information about using a fan safely,” she said. “That’s really a huge thing because fans can be used improperly and then that can actually greater the risk of having a heat stroke or heat exhaustion.”
To refer a low-income senior in need, or to get a kit, call the society at 604-793-9979 or email firstname.lastname@example.org