Fire Chief for Benton County Fire District #4, Bill Whealan emphasizes that children and pets should never be left unattended in a car, no matter what the temperatures. “Anytime it is over eighty degrees, you’re going to have a significant issue.”
If citizens see a child or a dog alone in a car, unless it is an emergency, breaking the car window is not preferred. Chief Whealan admits that determining how to gauge distress can be complicated, so he recommends if you have the time, call the local authorities. If you try to break into someone’s car you may risk being charged with damaging their property or taking something from inside.
Fire Chief Whealan adds that if you are sure they are in a life threatening situation, you may have to let your conscience be your guide at the moment. “Immediately open the door, take the child or pet out, get them to a cooler place, give them something cool to drink, and call 911.”
There are so many variables, depending on the temperature, range of health and age of the individual, in conjunction with how long the car has been sitting in the sun, that the safest action you can take, is to never leave your children or pets alone in a car for any length of time.