WILTON, Conn. -- The Wilton Police Department and State Rep. Gail Lavielle have teamed up for an initiative to raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children and pets in vehicles during the hot summer months.
Signs reading "Heat Kills, If you love 'em, don't leave 'em" can be found at several strategic locations throughout Wilton, including parking lot areas of Caraluzzi’s, Gateway Shopping Plaza, Starbucks, Stop and Shop, and the Village Market.
The signs include the police department's phone number, encouraging residents to call police if they see a child or pet left in a hot vehicle.
"Recent incidents in Ridgefield and Westport have demonstrated that not everyone is mindful of how dangerous it is to leave children or dogs in a car during hot, or even warm weather, and this is an excellent way to raise awareness of the risks and to remind people who might forget," said Lavielle.
"Seconds can save a life, and the signs should also make people comfortable about calling the police if they notice a child, a dog, or any animal alone in a hot car. This initiative was introduced very successfully in Fairfield by my colleague Rep. Brenda Kupchick, and I thought it would be just as helpful for our town. I thank Chief Lynch, Captain Cipolla, and the Wilton Police force for being so responsive, as well as all the businesses that are hosting a sign.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly, even when it feels cool outside. Temperatures inside the car can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open. Children and pets who are left unattended are at great risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.
"Your dog pants to cool themselves. If the air temperature in your vehicle rises, they can overheat rapidly," said Wilton Animal Control Officer Chris Muir. "This can result in death to your pet. All trips into a store last longer than you think. Please let's keep our pets safe."
Police thanked the property management groups who support the initiative, including David Piersall and Vidi Piersall of the Merwin Building Management Company, LLC, Kimco Realty, Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc - REIT, and Remo Wilton Association LLC.
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