Need a fan or air conditioner? Want to donate one? How the Triangle is bracing for heat

Jaylen Fuller, 12, jumps through the water at Hillside Park sprayground on Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Durham, N.C.

Triangle residents are being urged to take extra precautions as temperatures climb into the mid- to upper 90s, with a heat index making it feel up to 10 degrees hotter.

Here’s how local governments are helping.

WAKE COUNTY

Wake County is offering box fans and air conditioners and opening cooling stations to help residents avoid the heat.

“Summer is here, and with it comes extreme heat,” said Autumn Goheen, outreach, training and exercise manager with Wake County Emergency Management. “Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. We encourage anyone who needs shelter from the heat to take advantage of these opportunities.”

Cooling stations: Wake County Public Libraries and the county’s regional centers and health and human services centers can be used as cooling stations. The libraries will begin serving as cooling stations at noon Saturday and the regional centers and health and human services centers will be open starting Monday.

Free fans: Wake County households with someone over 60 and/or children under 12 may request a fan through a social worker. Wake County has received 170 requests so far this year, more than double the number received at the same time last year. Go to wake.gov/coolforwake

Free air conditioners: Wake County residents can also request a window air-conditioning unit if they have a senior or child with a “chronic illness affecting their respiratory system” like COPD or asthma. Requests must be made with a doctor’s written statement. Go to wake.gov/coolforwake

People can also request help in paying their cooling bills or make donations toward the Cool for Wake program on the county’s website.

Raleigh

The city is altering its summer camp programs. In most instances, campers go outside in the morning and outdoor field trips are also only scheduled in the morning. If a camp does go outside in the afternoon, the maximum allowed time is 30 minutes unless there is a special event. Frequent water breaks are included.

DURHAM COUNTY

The county has designated some of its libraries as cooling centers beginning Friday and Saturday.

Durham’s main library and its four regional libraries will offer a reprieve from the heat from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on those days.

ORANGE COUNTY

The county’s Emergency Management team has been talking with its partners in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough about how to address excessive heat days this weekend and over the summer, said Sarah Pickhardt, the county’s division chief of emergency management.

Cooling centers are provided when the National Weather Service issues an “excessive heat warning,” she said, and local officials also watch for local power outages.

“Wide-scale, extended power outages during periods of extreme heat can be particularly dangerous for elderly community members, children, and those with medical needs,” Pickhardt said.

Free fans: The Orange County Department on Aging is giving out free box fans to eligible older adults and adults with disabilities. Call 919-968-2087.

On the street: Help is available for unsheltered residents from the Street Outreach, Harm Reduction and Deflection (SOHRAD) team at 919-886-3351, from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday and noon-9 p.m. Saturday.

More resources: The county maintains a list of places at www.OrangeCountyNC.gov/heat where the public can find air conditioning, showers, public restrooms, phone charging and other resources year-round. The website also offer tips for preparing for the heat, keeping your cool, and recognizing the signs of heat-related illness.

Chapel Hill

The town’s Emergency Management division coordinates cooling centers and other options with the county and surrounding towns. Check the town website for outdoor activities and events that could be changed or canceled.

The town’s CARE Team, a partnership between the Chapel Hill Police Department and Orange County, will check on unsheltered residents, spokesman Alex Carrasquillo said.

Hillsborough

Keeping cool: The Hillsborough Police Department is collecting new fans and window air-conditioning units through June 28 for residents who need help this summer.

Fans and air-conditioning units can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Police Station, 127 N. Churton St. in Hillsborough, or contact Maj. Andy Simmons or senior administrative support specialist Danielle King at 919-296-9500 to arrange a pickup of large donations or to donate outside of business hours.

Cooling sites: The town works closely with the Orange County Emergency Management office and does not provide misting tents or cooling sites. However, the Orange County Public Library is open at 137 W. Margaret Lane from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.