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Heat Safety for People and Pets in Vehicles

Posted at 1 p.m.

heat safety for people and pets

With the summer months upon us, now is the time to learn about the dangers of heatstroke and being trapped in a hot car. Heatstroke is dangerous and can be deadly.

Never leave children, pets, or older adults unattended in a parked car.

Unfortunately, children mistakenly being left in hot vehicles make up many of the tragedies reported each year.

Use the following life saving tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind yourself and others to check the back seat before walking away from a vehicle.

  • Look Before You Lock. Get into the routine of always checking the back seat of your vehicle before you lock it and walk away.
  • A Gentle Reminder. Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it is empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. Alternatively, place your phone, briefcase, or purse in the back seat when traveling with your child.
  • A Routine Check. If someone else is driving your child, or you alter your daily routine, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.
  • A Key to Safety. You know to keep your vehicle locked, but also keep your keys out of reach; nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle.
animation of heat in vehicles

Animation Courtesy of General Motors and San Francisco State University.

On a warm day, temperatures can rapidly rise to dangerous levels. Even with the windows slightly open, the temperature in a car on a 93-degree day can soar to 125 degrees in just 20 minutes and approximately 140 degrees in 40 minutes.

Keep Your Pets Safe Too

Rolling down the windows has little effect on the temperature inside a car. High temps can cause organ damage and even death for our furry friends.

If your pet shows any of the following signs contact your veterinarian immediately:

  • Heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Profuse salivation

Take steps to reduce the animal’s body temperature, apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck and chest; provide water and ice cubes for hydration; and move the animal into the shade or air-conditioning.

If you see a child or pet alone in a parked car on a hot day, call 9-1-1.

Learn more extreme heat preparedness at www.ready.gov/heat.

Get Your Pets Ready During National Pet Preparedness Month

Posted at 11:30 a.m.

June marks National Pet Preparedness Month and is a perfect opportunity for you to learn how to plan for your pet’s safety during an emergency event.

If you need to evacuate your home for any reason do not forget to plan for your furry, scaly or feathered friends. The Ready Campaign offers guidance and tips with regard to:

  • Making a pet emergency plan.
  • Preparing shelter for your pet.
  • Protecting your pet during a disaster and caring for them afterwards.
  • Tips for large animals.

Learn more about how to prepare your pet(s) for emergency situations at www.ready.gov/animals and www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/prepare/needs-pets.htm.

pet preparedness

Take a selfie with your pet! Be sure you have a current photo of you with your pet in case you are separated during a disaster. Learn more at http://www.ready.gov/pets

Don’t Leave Kids or Pets Unattended in Vehicles

Look before you lock -- don't leave children or pets unattended in vehicles

Posted at 10 a.m.

Every summer there seems to be a heartbreaking story of a child who was accidentally left in a hot car.

Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children. Unfortunately, even great parents can forget a child in the back seat. Other risk factors include caregivers who aren’t used to driving kids or whose routine suddenly changes. So remember — look before you lock. Always check the back seats of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away.

You can also keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat. And if someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.

Want to see why it’s so critically important to take these steps? Watch this video to see how quickly the temperature can rise inside a vehicle.

For more on keeping kids safe, including what you can do if you see a child alone in a car , visit safercar.gov.

Video: Pet Preparedness

Posted at 3 p.m.

As part of National Preparedness Month, we need to remember our pets as part of the preparedness process. In this video, Whitney Kazragis from our emergency management office shares some tips about pet preparedness.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers some fantastic disaster tips along with a list of pet supplies for your emergency kit. In addition, the ASPCA will be hosting a Google+ Hangout for National Preparedness Month on Thursday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m., bringing the biggest names in disaster response together — including FEMA and the USDA — to discuss how pet owners, cities and lawmakers can make sure pets stay safe during disasters. The ASPCA Google+ Hangout will be moderated by ABC News meteorologist Ginger Zee, and it can be viewed at www.aspca.org/mobileapp.

National Preparedness Month - pet preparedness

Today is National Animal Disaster Preparendess Day

Posted at 9:45 a.m.

Today is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. Kristen Auerbach with our Animal Shelter says pets are part of our families and we need to make sure our pets are prepared for emergencies. In this video, she offers some great tips to make sure our pets are ready in case of an emergency.

 

Prepare your pets for emergencies. In an emergency, you may need to stay in your home, or perhaps you’ll have to leave. If you evacuate, do not leave your pets behind. Pets most likely cannot survive on their own. Plan now where your pet will stay if you have to evacuate: a friends’ or relative’s home, a pet-friendly hotel or motel, or a kennel or veterinarian’s office.  Talk to your vet or local humane society about an emergency plan for your pet.

Ask Fairfax Online Chat at 11 a.m.

Staff from the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and our Office of Emergency Management will be available online at 11 a.m. to answer all of your questions to help you protect your pets when the unexpected happens. Submit a question now or join in the “Ask Fairfax” online chat about pet preparedness.

Pet Preparedness

There are five easy steps pet owners can take to drastically increase their pet’s resiliency to disasters:

  • Build a pet emergency kit.
  • ID your pet with a collar and tag or consider microchipping.
  • Practice evacuating in the car or determine where to shelter-in-place with your pet.
  • Create a buddy system with a relative or friend to help each other’s pets in case one of you is away from home during an emergency.
  • Download a preparedness app.

As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to protect your pet during a disaster.