Jami Seymore and Matt Rawlings
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the heat wave continues around the Portland area, many are still without air conditioners, so organizations across the state are working to fix that.
Health Share of Oregon works with healthcare providers to identify those within the systems that are most at risk of heat illnesses because of their health.
“The elderly are certainly at an increased risk of heat-related events. People with multiple chronic conditions, things like chronic heart failure, heart disease, people who have limited mobility and can’t get access to things like fluids, those with kidney disease, pregnant patients in their second or third trimester, especially,” Cat Livingston, Health Share of Oregon’s Medical Director, said. “All of those put people at risk and especially if you have multiple chronic conditions, that increases the risk.”
Then, through outreach, they can find who already has access to A/C, and who is still in need of one.
“We’ve identified our population who are most vulnerable to potentially ending up in the emergency department due to heat or a hospitalization or even potentially dying,” Livingston said. “One of the things we did is really understand which of our population has those risk factors and then conduct outreach to them and offer air conditioners as well as other resources like access to cooling centers.”
Health Share of Oregon says they’re in the middle of giving out air conditioners, especially with this week’s heat wave. As for last year, they reached out to 7,000 people over the summer, giving out about 1,300 air conditioning units to those in need.
If you believe you may qualify for a free air conditioner based on a health condition, you’re urged to contact Health Share of Oregon or your specific health provider.