Emergency services, veterinarians warn current temps could be deadly in some cases

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — Firefighters, doctors and veterinarians are warning that temperatures forecast for Friday could be deadly in certain situations, particularly for children left in hot cars.

Even on days when high temperatures only reach 75 degrees or so, the inside of cars can reach roughly 105 degrees; on days when highs top out in the middle 90s — like they did Thursday and are forecast to do Friday — in-car temps can top 140 degrees. Firefighters say those temperatures can kill children left in hot cars.

“There is a Good Samaritan Law in the State of South Carolina,” Westview Fairforest Fire Department Captain Joe Kennedy said, “that covers if a child is locked in a vehicle to rescue that child from that environment, if the owner cannot be found. South Carolina does have the good Samaritan law.”

In other words, a person who comes across a child locked in a hot car can legally break the car’s window to rescue the child if the car’s owner cannot be located.

The high temperatures and humidity can also be harmful or deadly to animals.

Dr. Bill Bledsoe, a veterinarian, said that within the past week, he “saw a cat that was indoor-outdoor, went through his cat door and had burns on the bottom of his feet from going out on his own and getting on the pavement.”

The recovery process from that kind of injury, he said, can take months. Animals whose paws are burned could have permanent nerve damage, he said.

Dogs’ and cats’ fur coats can cause more serious problems on hot days. Bledsoe says he’s had clients’ dogs die after overheating.

“They get brain damage. A lot of times, they can’t stand up and know how to eat again,” Dr. Bledsoe said.

He recommends having a rectal thermometer on hand to check pets’ temperatures, keeping their coats short during the summer, and testing the ground with bare skin to make sure it’s OK for animals’ paws.

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