Tulsa Group Helps To Place Air Conditioners With Low-Income, Ill Residents
TULSA, Oklahoma - EMSA says it responded to three heat-related calls on Saturday. None were serious, but one of the patients was a 5-week-old baby left in a car.
EMSA is urging all parents to be extra careful with their children in this heat.
Since the heat can be so dangerous, it's important to stay inside and cool off with the air conditioning.
But many people in our area don't have air conditioning at their homes, which can make sweltering days like today life threatening.
There is at least another month and a half or so of this summer heat, so people who are suffering through it now have some hot days ahead if they don't get help. I spoke to a woman who says her house often gets so hot, she'd rather be outside.
“Each summer seems to get worse," Stacy King said.
Her air conditioner is on, but for the past decade, the 60-year-old unit hasn't worked as good as it should.
“I look at the thermostat, I don't know to make myself feel worse because it usually says between 85 and 90... and yes that's with the air on,” she said.
King says fans inside her home help a little, but the best relief she can get is from a huge cup of ice water.
“Hang on, dealing with my husband’s ill health and umm, lost a lot of income so whatever is broken stays broken and started to look at the agencies that can possibly help us out,” she said.
Each year, the Tulsa Weather Coalition tries to connect people in need, with working air conditioners.
They generally help low-income people with limited mobility who have serious medical conditions that get worse when it's hot -- illnesses like congestive heart failure, emphysema, COPD, sickle cell and others.
"I'd say we have probably two and 300 referrals so far,” the coalition’s Clarissa Dunn said. “A portion n of those get air conditions or don't quality for just don't follow up with us; it's a process it doesn't happen automatically.
The applicants are connected to the Tulsa Weather Coalition through 211, the city's help line.
The program requires applicants to provide a letter from a doctor explaining their illness, and they have to complete an application and sign a lease agreement saying they'll return the unit.
“It's not a huge program, but it makes an enormous difference in people's lives," Dunn said.
King says it would make a difference in the lives of her and her sick husband. She hopes that when she applies, they'll qualify.
“It's hard because I don't see any end in sight," she said.
Catholic Charities is another organization that helps with fans and AC units. However, to be able to give them out, they'll first need donations. So far, Catholic Charities has only gotten two window AC donations.