The Wilton Police Department and Rep. Gail Lavielle, Wilton’s state representative, have teamed up for an initiative throughout the Town of Wilton, with new signs posted around town that read, “Heat Kills, If you Love ‘em, Don’t Leave ‘em.” The program has a goal to raise awareness amongst residents as well as serve as a reminder of the dangers associated with leaving children and pets in vehicles during the hot summer months.

The signs can be found in several strategic locations throughout the Town of Wilton, include the parking lot areas of Caraluzzi’s, Gateway Shopping Plaza, Starbucks, Stop & Shop, and the Village Market. The signs include the phone number of the Wilton Police Department instructing anyone who observes a child or pet left in a hot vehicle to call the police.

“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. 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,” Lavielle says.

She adds that she was inspired by her colleague, Rep. Brenda Kupchick, who successfully introduced the initiative in Fairfield.

“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,” Lavielle says.

According the CDC website, “Even when it feels cool outside, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Leaving a window open is not enough-temperatures inside the car can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open. Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.”

The same warning applies to pets. “Your dog pants to cool themselves. If the air temperature in your vehicle rises, they can overheat rapidly. This can result in death to your pet,” says Wilton animal control officer Chris Muir. “All trips into a store last longer than you think. Please let’s keep our pets safe.”

The police offered special thanks to the property management groups who put their support behind 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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