Extreme heat puts local seniors in danger - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Extreme heat puts local seniors in danger

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RINGGOLD, GA. (WRCB) - People over 65 are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. Their bodies can't cool as efficiently, they're more likely to have medical conditions and the biggest risk is many live alone and don't catch the signs in time.

That's why some local officers are checking on them and encourage others to do the same.

Intense heat beating down on Catoosa County has Deputy Sheriff Mike Gard knocking on doors, working the phones and hitting the streets to make sure the elderly stay cool enough.

"Help the seniors and let them know that there's somebody here close if they need something," Catoosa Co. Deputy Sheriff Mike Gard says.

It's not a new program, but the department says it's especially important when it comes to temperatures this high.

"I truly believe that our program has saved lives because there's several cases that we found seniors in bad shape," Catoosa Co. Sheriff Phil Summers says.

Betty Green, 79, added her name to the list of seniors to check on after her husband passed away and was suddenly living alone.

"I can go to bed at night and say my prayer because I know the next morning, Mike's going to check and see if I'm alright," Betty Green says.

She's picked up a lot of tips on staying safe on days like Friday.

"Turn the A/C on, stay inside. I've been out once. I've been down in Ringgold this morning, but it was cooler," Green says.

She went to the pharmacy to see if her blood pressure medicine increases her chance of heat stroke. It was a smart move because many do, which is another major risk factor for her age group.

"I don't think it's been this hot in years," Green says.

Gard says helping the elderly is rewarding.

"They can help me, more than I can help them," Gard says.

The department hopes others will realize the importance of it.

"Be a good neighbor and help watch out for people in your neighborhood and do a good deed," Sheriff Summers says.

If you're unable to check on an elderly person yourself, you can call your local law enforcement to do it.

The Catoosa County Sheriff's Office provides fans for those who need them. The Salvation Army also has a fan program serving the area.

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