As Summer sizzles, Extreme Weather Task Force asking for fan donations

With temperatures in the 100’s predicted for the next few days, the Extreme Weather Task Force (EWTF) continues to ask for fan donations to “help protect the unprotected in our community.”

Since 2004, the Extreme Weather Task Force (EWTF) has collected and delivered more than 10,000 free electric box fans to qualifying elderly and needy families in our community.

According to the El Paso Medical Examiner’s Office, there were 5 heat-related deaths in El Paso County last summer, all in July 2018.

To help save lives, the EWTF stresses use of the “Buddy System.”  This simply involves having a trusted relative, friend or neighbor check in daily with an elderly or disabled person during a heat wave. A Buddy encourages an at-risk individual to stay cool by wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, to eat well, drink plenty of fluids and cool their home safely. If there are errands to be done, the Buddy does them, or makes sure they get done.

Those most at-risk for heat stroke include:  elderly people with inadequate food, clothing or cooling; babies sleeping in hot bedrooms; children left unattended; adults under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs; mentally ill individuals; people who remain outdoors for long periods (the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.)

If adequate cooling are unavailable in the home, the EWTF recommends individuals go to one of the designated cool zones in our community. These “cool zones” include public libraries, indoor shopping malls and senior citizen centers.

New fan donations can be dropped off any time at local fire stations; meanwhile corporate and monetary donations are welcome payable to the APS Silver Star Board.

The APS Silver Star Board mailing address is 401 East Franklin Ave, Suite 350, Attention Grace Ortiz, and El Paso, Texas 79901


Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic) regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.

  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar – these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors, and if possible, stay in an air conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library – even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90’s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
    • Infants and young children
    • People aged 65 or older
    • People who have a mental illness
    • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.


  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour.  A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and by putting on a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher – the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels.

Those in need of a fan (who meet EWTF criteria) should call 211.  For more information contact: Grace Ortiz at 915-834-5772 or [email protected].