As temperatures continue to soar across much of Western Canada, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services has been busy responding to numerous calls of people and animals being locked in vehicles.
On Monday alone, EFRS said it was called to four reports of a child or adult locked in a vehicle, as well as nine calls for animals locked in vehicles.
Edmonton reached a high of 34 C on Monday, according to Environment Canada.
Between June 1 and June 28, Edmonton fire crews were called to 87 incidents of people or animals being locked in vehicles — 52 for animals and 35 for humans. Of those, 28 calls for animals and 19 calls for people have happened since June 20.
Emergency personnel say these calls serve as a reminder that a vehicle is not a babysitter.
On a warm day, even when a vehicle is parked in the shade with its windows down, it only takes minutes for a vehicle to reach dangerous temperatures.
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Extreme heat affects infants and small children more quickly than adults because of their size. Their core temperature can increase three to five times faster than an adult’s, according to the Edmonton Police Service’s “Vehicle Is Not A Babysitter” campaign.
Pets get heatstroke more quickly than kids because they can’t cool themselves off by sweating. They only have sweat glands on their paws which won’t do well on a hot car seat, according to the EPS.
In addition to the medical risks, someone could also take off with the vehicle with a person or pet inside. Children or loose pets could also inadvertently put the vehicle into drive if it’s left running.
“There are too many dangerous situations that could happen in this moment of convenience,” according to the EPS.
What to do if you see a person/animal in distress
Anyone who sees an unattended child or animal in a vehicle on a hot day should call 911 and check for signs of overheating, which include fast, noisy breathing, disorientation, vomiting and lack of responsiveness. If the vehicle doors are unlocked, the child or animal should be removed from the vehicle. Police say if the doors are locked, break a window to get the child or pet out of the vehicle and advise the owners upon their return that police are on the way.
EFRS said if an animal does not appear to be in distress, people should call 311 instead of 911.
Edmonton’s weather forecast
Edmonton could break its all-time temperature record this week. The hottest temperature ever recorded in the city was 37.2 C, which happened on June 29, 1937.
Edmonton will continue to see extremely high temperatures for the next several days.
Global Edmonton’s weather team is forecasting a high of 36 C in Edmonton Tuesday, 37 C Wednesday and 36 C Thursday. With the humidex, it will feel even warmer.
The entire province remains under a heat warning Tuesday. Several areas, including Edmonton, also have special air quality statements in place.
“Stagnant weather conditions under a ridge of high pressure are causing pollutants at the surface to build up with time. Air quality is expected to be at its worst in the evenings while these hot and sunny conditions persist,” Environment Canada’s weather statement reads.
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