Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Clayton County Fire and Emergency Management Agency officials make a donation of 75 fans and 34 cases of bottled water to Clayton Senior Services Director Mary Byrd for distribution to homebound residents. Pictured are (l-r, back row) firefighters Stacy Duffey, Brad Bailey, L.C. Jackson, Sgt. Lawrence Adams and Lt. Bob Gordon; (l-r, front row) Capt. Walter Barber Battalion Chief Jacque Feilke, Assistant Chief Landry Merkison, Byrd, county spokeswoman Jamie Carlington, and deputy chiefs David King and Tim Sweat.
RIVERDALE — It’s about looking out for those who can’t look out for themselves.
With temperatures tipping triple digits, the health and well-being of homebound residents becomes paramount. To help them beat the heat, Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services partnered with Home Depot to donate 75 fans and 34 cases of bottled water to the county’s Senior Services program.
Chief Jeff Hood said dehydration in the elderly is a serious threat in extreme heat.
“With summer temperatures rising, it is essential that people take the necessary precautions to prevent common heat associated-injuries like dehydration, exhaustion and heat stroke,” said Hood. “Precautions can be as simple as seeking shelter in a cool environment and drinking plenty of water.”
Program Director Mary Byrd was only too happy to accept the contribution during a ceremony Thursday at the fire station headquarters.
“A lot of our homebound seniors don’t have air conditioning,” she said. “They may have one fan in one room but it’s just hot with one. To get the water, too? That’s just a treat. We didn’t expect the water.”
Assistant Chief Landry Merkison said the fans were bought through Clayton Fire Charities. Home Depot in Lovejoy and Riverdale donated the water. This is the second year the department donated 75 fans.
“When the heat gets this hot, our homebound residents are most vulnerable,” said Merkison. “It’s important to make sure we protect our aging population and this is the best way to do it. The elderly and the young are so susceptible to dehydration and when the temperatures are this hot, it doesn’t take long to dehydrate.”
The fans and water were taken to the Aging Office on Battle Creek Road in Jonesboro to be distributed to needy residents.
“They are in charge of the vetting process,” said Merkison. “Their staff will take over and make sure the needs are met.”
To Byrd, it was nearly like Christmas in July.
“Clayton County Senior Services is delighted to partner with the county’s Fire and Emergency Services Department in providing water and fans to our seniors,” she said. “With dangerous, record-breaking temperatures this summer, it’s important that we rally together and provide any type assistance that we are able to for our older residents.”