COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As summer approaches, it can sometimes be hard to afford to stay cool.
That includes many senior citizens, who can be most at-risk for heat related illnesses.
The Columbia Police Department is one agency that is, once again, trying to help.
CPD's Fan the Heat program will once again be collecting those devices for those in need.
Now in his 70's, Willie Felder has been in the Midlands most of his life. In that time, he says he's grown to know what summers can bring.
"Gets pretty hot I would say. Gets kind of stuffy," Felder said.
Felder said the heat made for restless conditions inside his Columbia home each night, which was cooled by only fans until last year.
"It was real hot, you couldn't sleep too good, air condition make you rest better."
Felder now has a new tool to fight Mother Nature: a used air conditioner donated and given to him last year by the Columbia Police Department.
"I went up to the police substation and within two or three days they bring it out, which is very nice, it really help me," Felder said.
With the summer heat expected to rise, donations like these can be lifesaving.
The Centers for Disease Control reports over an 11-year period, more than 600 people died each year from exposure to excessive heat.
Each summer the elderly, young children and people with chronic illness are considered to be the most vulnerable.
Throughout the summer, Columbia Police will be collecting fans, air conditioners and donations, specifically to help those in need.
CPD's Fan the Heat program is open to anyone over the age of 55 or anyone who has a respiratory problem or major illness where a fan or air conditioner can help.
To see if you qualify for help, call Columbia Police at 545-3500.
If you'd like to donate to the Fan the Heat campaign, Columbia Police officers will be at the Wal-Mart on Forest Drive on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.