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Help for heating bills is available

POSTED: December 1, 2010 4:00 a.m.

Fall has finally arrived in Georgia. The leaves have changed and cooler temperatures mean heating bills will start going up. There is help for families in Georgia who qualify.

 

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps Georgia families pay heating bills. Applications are currently being accepted for families in which every member is 65 or older.

 

Applications for all Georgia households will begin Dec. 1, if funds remain.

 

In Dawson County, contact Ninth District Opportunity Inc., at (706) 265-3744 to schedule an appointment to apply for energy assistance.

 

For additional information, visit the Ninth District Opportunity, Inc. Web site at www.ndo.org.

 

Qualifying households will receive a one-time payment of up to $350 paid directly to their heating source (electric, propane, natural gas, etc.).

 

Priority is given to elderly and homebound households.

 

It’s important to stay warm when temperatures fall. Hypothermia occurs when you are exposed to cold temperatures and your body loses more heat than it can produce.

 

You can prevent hypothermia by dressing appropriately according to the weather forecast. Dressing in layers will help you stay comfortable as temperatures in Georgia can change quickly.

 

It’s important to know the outdoor temperature as well as wind chill factor, which is the effects of wind on the air temperature. Victims of hypothermia are usually elderly or young, but it can affect anyone at any age.

 

The warning signs of hypothermia for adults are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. For infants, bright red, cold skin and low energy

 

If you notice any of these signs, or if your body temperature is 95 degrees or lower, seek medical attention.

 

If medical care is not available, begin warming the person by: getting the victim to a warm room or shelter, remove any wet clothing, warm the center of the body first — chest, neck, head and groin —use dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels or sheets.

 

Do not give a victim coffee or alcohol.

 

To avoid hypothermia: keep warm and dry, stay inside as much as possible, eat a balanced diet, keep moving when outdoors, dress appropriately, including keeping your head warm.

 

For more information about LIHEAP or hypothermia, contact Amy Cunningham at the UGA Extension Forsyth County office at (770) 887-2418.

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