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Old 05-06-2008, 07:45 PM
Howard Hartman Howard Hartman is offline
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Default Warm Weather Precautions for People and Pets

Warm Weather Precautions for People and Pets

As we continue to experience warmer weather, Montgomery County Police want to remind community members and pet owners about safety concerns to young children, the elderly and pets left unattended in vehicles. Most people don’t realize that even days with temperatures in the 70’s, the temperature inside a vehicle can drastically rise after just a few minutes leaving vulnerable people and pets susceptible to heat stroke, brain damage and even death. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows cracked does little to alleviate the heat inside a vehicle.

On a warm and sunny day, vehicle windows collect light and trap the heat inside the vehicle making the inside temperature rise to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside the vehicle can reach approximately 102 degrees. After 30 minutes, the temperatures can reach approximately 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in severe danger of suffering from heatstroke. Temperatures of cars parked in direct sunlight can rise more than 30 degrees per minute quickly becoming dangerous to people and lethal to pets.

In July of 2005, research from the Stanford University School of Medicine, showed that even on mild days the inside temperature of a vehicle can rise dramatically. With the outside temperatures ranging from 72 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit, researches found that the inside temperature of the vehicle rose by 40 degrees within the hour and 80% of that rise occurred in the first 30 minutes. Researchers have also found that cracking the windows has no effect on the rate of heating or the final temperature.

Young children and elderly suffering from heat stroke will have a high body temperature exceeding 103 degrees, red-hot-dry skin, a dry-swollen tongue, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, or even unconsciousness.

Montgomery County Police remind citizens not to leave children or elderly people in unattended vehicles. Violations of the law may result in a criminal citation for $500.00 and a mandatory court appearance, under the Annotated Code of Maryland for leaving a child unattended in a vehicle if the child is under eight years old.

Dogs, frequently left unattended in a vehicle, are designed to conserve heat, and if they are left in a vehicle unattended they can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes.

Signs of heat stoke include a body temperature of 104 to 110 degrees, excessive panting, dark or bright-red tongue and gums, staggering, stupor, seizures, coma or even death.

The Montgomery County Police Animal Services Division reminds residents not to leave animals unattended in a motor vehicle. Violations of county or state code can result in the animal being removed from the vehicle and the owner being charged with cruelty to animals. The Animal Services Division can issue a $500.00 civil citation to a pet owner for leaving an animal in an unattended motor vehicle under Chapter 5, 201 (a) (13). In extreme cases, the pet owner may be charged under the Maryland Criminal Law 10-604 for animal cruelty.

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