Starts free fan program

As spring temperatures rise, the Audrain County Health Department has begun its free county fan program to make sure those in need stay cool – especially the elderly and those on fixed incomes.
This is the second year the county health department has sponsored the fan program. ACHD Director Kevin Lowrance said the department worked with the Human Service Council, Audrain County Emergency Management, area companies and several individuals to secure the seed money to start the program.
"We got local industries to donate fans, and help from area companies and the emergency management office as well. We ended up with $1,500 and several donated fans, and were able to give out close to 75 fans last year to people in need," Lowrance said. "This is something we've needed for a long time, and I think it is a great thing that happened for the community."
Lowrance said the health department has already received calls requesting fans and distributed a few.
"We're hoping we can do as good as we did last year. We just have not started looking for donations yet. But if people want to make donations they can. We will use the monetary donations to buy new fans," Lowrance said. However, due to safety concerns, he said, only new fans are accepted.
"We don't take used fans because of the liability of being uncertain of their functionality," Lowrance explained. "So if someone wants to go out and buy two or three fans and bring them to the health department, we will take them and make sure they are given a good home."
Who can qualify?
• Anyone who is 133 percent of the federal poverty level
• Clients that have children in the home 18 and younger
• Clients that have disabilities or disabled family members in the home.
• Anyone 65 and older
All clients should bring proof of income and residence to prove they are Audrain County residents. Lowrance said those who received fans last year will not qualify for fan assistance the year.
"There are federal guidelines that we have to follow for those that need fans," Lowrance explained, adding that ACHD is using the 2013 Annual Federal Poverty Guidelines to determine qualified clients. He urges everyone to spread the word about the program and the need for donations.
"We have no money left to buy new fans, so communication means the world to a program like this," Lowrance said. "When we started this program last year, we had several people that stepped up the plate. Now we need your help again to continue helping those in need of the assistance," Lowrance said.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reportedly received 939 heat-related emergency department visits in 2012 through July 25. MDHSS reported four non-metro area heat deaths; one in Randolph County, one in Pettis County and two in Phelps County. For more information about the Audrain County Free Fan Program, call (573) 581-1332. The agency currently has 40 available fans left over from last year's donation drive.