BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– It’s a simple task that could save a life, look before you lock.
As temperatures begin to rise across the Panhandle, local law enforcement is working hard to prevent hot car tragedies that could result in the loss of life.
According to the National Safety Council, an average of 38 children a year die after being left in a hot vehicle. Corporal Jeff Duggins with the Bay County Sherriff’s Office said leaving pets and kids in a hot car is an easily preventable tragedy, but even more heartbreaking when it’s an accident.
“For every minute that the car is shut down sitting in the sun, it goes up a degree, so let’s say it’s 85 degrees, in 15 minutes we’re already at 100 degrees,” he said.
Bay County Sherriff’s Office has a K-9 unit vehicles especially equipped to sound the sirens when it gets hot and the dogs are inside, the fans blow and the windows open automatically.
Duggins said that leaving windows open in a hot car with a child or pet inside, however, is not the solution.
“Even if they have air flow on top, the ambient airflow below that is non-existent. so it’s still going to get very hot,” he said.
So what should you do? Duggins said reminders on seatbelts that alert you to look in the back seat are a useful tool, in addition to other types of reminders.
“Leave your purse or wallet back there. Leave something that you have to take with you to remind you that there is a child back there,” he said.
And what do you do if you see a child or pet in a hot car?
“Immediately call 911,” he said.
Legally you can break the window to rescue a pet or child without facing charges. To do so, you must follow these steps: First make sure the car is locked, in good faith and reasonable judgment know that the person or animal is in danger and call 911 before breaking the window.