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It's now Legal in Florida to break into cars if you need to rescue hot people OR pets


(NaturalNews) It is being hailed as a victory for the vulnerable and, really, it's common sense.

A newly enacted law in Florida now makes it perfectly legal for residents to break into other people's cars if the intent is to keep a child or a pet who is "in imminent danger of suffering harm," say, from becoming too hot.

As reported by the Miami Herald:

"The new law is in direct response to a growing number of incidents where pets, children and others have died because they've been left in overheated cars, particularly under Florida's steamy summer sun."

Under the new statute, individuals cannot be sued by vehicle owners for breaking into their car to rescue a person or pet, so long as they have:

-- First checked to ensure the vehicle is locked;

-- Called 911 or law enforcement before entering the vehicle or immediately after doing so
[no word on what the time limit for that is];

-- Uses no more force than is necessary to break in;

-- And remains with the person or animal until first-responders arrive.

It happens more than people think

House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, introduced the legislation in the current session with unanimous support, the Herald noted.

According to this graph from the National Weather Service, which tracks such incidents, deaths from overheating in a motor vehicle (children, pets, senior citizens) fell to 24 around the country last year. But in prior years, the figure had been nearly or more than double that, with 43 deaths in 2003, 47 in 2005, 43 in 2008 and 49 in 2010.

Heat exhaustion or heat stroke from an overheated car can occur quickly, sometimes in minutes, the NWS noted.

"The sun's shortwave radiation ... does heat objects that it strikes. For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to more than 200 degrees F," the agency notes on its website. "These objects (e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, child seat) heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and also give off longwave radiation ... which is very efficient at warming the air trapped inside a vehicle."

In just over two minutes, vehicle interiors can go from a safe temperature to an unsafe 94.3 degrees F.

Persons locked in a warm car fall victim to hyperthermia, and because of its devastating and potentially deadly effects it can be considered a true medical emergency.

It can happen even in moderate weather

"Hyperthermia is an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day," the NWS reported. "Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, adults and pets.

"Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate," the agency added. "The effects can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults."

As you might imagine, federal agencies and other interest groups advise never leaving a child or pet in a vehicle, even if you're just "running inside the grocery store" for a few minutes. You could be delayed at the check-out, run into a friend and lose track of time, or have to wait on other customers for your goods, delaying you and putting your child in danger.

Even in moderate weather conditions, the inside of an automobile can become dangerously warm. Children have died after being left in cars for hours on fairly cool and moderate days, the NWS noted.

Regarding Florida's new law, the HLN network reported in May 2015 that Iraq war veteran Michael Hammons had been arrested after breaking out a car window to save a dog on a hot day in Athens, Ga. The state has a law that allows a person to do that if they are trying to save a human, but not an animal.

Those charges, however, were later dropped.







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