Panama City

Panama City, FL – Dangers of leaving pets and kids in a hot vehicle

Panama City, FL –

BAY COUNTY, Florida (WMBB)– This is 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 burning car tragedies that could result in loss of life.

According to the National Safety Council, an average of 38 children die every year after being left in a hot vehicle. Corporal Jeff Duggins of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office said leaving pets and children in a hot car is an easily preventable tragedy, but even more heartbreaking when it comes to an accident.

“For every minute the car is off in the sun, it goes up one degree, so let’s say it’s 85 degrees, in 15 minutes we’re already at 100 degrees,” he said.

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office has specially equipped K-9 Unit vehicles that sound sirens when it’s hot and the dogs are inside, fans blow and windows open automatically .

Duggins said leaving the windows open in a hot car with a child or pet inside isn’t the answer, though.

“Even though they have airflow on top, the ambient airflow underneath is non-existent, so it’s still going to be very hot,” he said.

So what should you do? Duggins said seatbelt reminders that warn you to look in the back seat are a useful tool, in addition to other types of reminders.

“Leave your purse or wallet there. Leave something you need to take with you to remind you that there is a child there,” he said.

And what do you do if you see a child or pet in a hot car?

“Call 911 immediately,” he said.

Legally, you can break the window to save a pet or child without facing charges. To do this, you must follow these steps: First make sure the car is locked, know in good faith and with reasonable judgment that the person or animal is in danger, and call 911 before breaking the window .

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