First responders highlight the dangers of hot cars

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For the second year, officials with the Wayne Township Fire Department and the Indiana State Police held a demonstration to draw attention to the danger of hot cars.

Captain Mike Pruitt and Sgt. John Perrine locked themselves inside a car Friday afternoon.

The pair say the wanted to show Hoosiers just how quickly the inside of a car can become dangerous in summer weather. The pair live streamed the demonstration which lasted for more than 30 minutes. Temperatures inside the car reached higher than 120 degrees.

“The effects of what we just did has the potential to become deadly in minutes. It doesn’t take long for a young child to become overheated,” Sgt. Perrine said.

According to 43 children died as a result of hot car emergencies in 2017. 10 have died in 2018.

Among those deaths, 3-year-old Hannah Grace Miller, who died in a hot car in Anderson earlier this week. Perrine and Pruitt say each death is tragic and preventable.

“We jumped on this much earlier this year because we saw ‘oh no’ there’s a trend, and not just here in Indiana..but nationwide that we’re seeing these reports,” Pruitt said.

Perrine and Pruitt say their basic message is simple; to avoid leaving a child in a hot car by accident. Make sure to “look before you lock.”

If a child has spent time inside of a hot car and may be feeling the effects of heat stroke, get them the help they need.

“One of our biggest fears is that somebody will actually leave their child in the car. They’ll get to them in time, the child will need medical attention, but out of fear of legal ramifications the people don’t call,” Perrine said.

Perrine and Pruitt also encourage Hoosiers to be “good bystanders” if they notice a child in distress in a hot car. There are laws that help to protect bystanders who break into hot cars if they notice a child or animal is in distress.

In order to receive protection, the rescuer must follow certain requirements; such as notifying law enforcement or first responders, use” no more force than is reasonably necessary,” and stay on scene.

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