Arizonans are no strangers to high desert temperatures. Due to an extreme heat advisory for the end of May and into June, however, public safety officials are warning Central Valley residents about the increased risk of car deaths.
Phoenix Fire Captain Rob McDade told KTAR News in an interview last week just how quickly pets and people can die when being left inside a vehicle and how traumatic it can be to those involved.
“If you don’t think it can happen to you, we want to pass this message on: It can happen to anyone.”
According to national data gathered by KidsandCars.org, 53 people, including four children in Arizona, died inside hot cars in 2019. Each death was preventable.
It is good to remember that if the temperature outdoors is 110 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 130 degrees in just 10 minutes. In only 30 minutes, the temperature inside a hot vehicle can reach as much as 144 degrees.
Ten years ago, Dawn Peabody lost her daughter, two-year-old daughter, Maya, in a hot car incident. Because of the shame, she used to tell people that her daughter died in a car accident. Now she is speaking out to help prevent others from experiencing the same kind of tragedy. Peabody, along with the Phoenix Fire Training Academy, has been sharing her message: “Look before you lock.”
In 2017, the State of Arizona passed a hot car law. If anyone sees an animal or child in an animal and believes them to be in “imminent danger.” If someone sees a pet or person inside, they can call 911 to advise them of the situation and break a window and not face any charges.
Phoenix Police Sergeant Ann Justice told reporters, “You can use whatever force necessary to remove a child or pet from a situation.” As long as you act in good faith, she added, you are allowed to break a window to free them and are not liable for any damage.