The Calgary Police Service (CPS), EMS and Calgary Fire Department (CFD) have joined the Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) for the third Child Safety Awareness Campaign.
First responders are warning the public to be aware of the health risks that occur when a child or pet is left in a hot vehicle.
According to a CPS news release, the first 30 minutes inside a closed car are when the temperature will increase the most. Children also experience heat differently than adults and will feel heat distress within a few minutes.
“In just minutes, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise significantly higher than the outside air temperature, even with the windows slightly ajar or cracked and the air conditioning on,” said Adam Loria, public education officer for EMS.
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In addition to leaving children unattended in hot vehicles, the Calgary Humane Society reminds pet owners that animals, too, are vulnerable when left in the heat.
Brad Nichols, manager of animal cruelty investigations with the Calgary Humane Society, wants pet owners to know that it is better to leave your pets at home while you run errands in the heat than to leave them in the car.
He said many people think they are helping their animal by getting them out of the house and spending time with them, but Nichols warns that the risks of doing so are too high.
“Just don’t do it,” Nichols said at a press conference on Thursday.
Not only is leaving a child or animal alone in a car medically dangerous, but it can also result in legal charges, according to EMS.
According to a news release, parents or caregivers who leave children in hot vehicles could face up to two years in prison among other charges, and pet owners could face up to 18 months imprisonment for the same offence.
If you see either a child or a pet in a closed vehicle, EMS and the Calgary Humane Society say to call 911.
“It is an emergency, a child or animal left in a vehicle,” said CPS detective Shawna Baldwin. “They don’t cope with the heat well. It’s safest to call 911 and have one of our agencies attend and deal with it.”
Baldwin offered a few tips to remember to keep your family safe, such as leaving something important in the back of your vehicle to remind yourself to check before you exit the car.
“If you’re leaving the vehicle, your child and your animal are leaving the vehicle with you,” Baldwin said.
A list of tips from Calgary first responders to stay safe in the heat can be found on the City of Calgary website.