When the sun is out and it’s going to be a hot one, it's important to be aware of the dangers of heat and the possible dangers in cooling off.

Just think of how hot your car is when you get in it after going into the store for just a few minutes.

Of course, we all roll down our windows and crank the air conditioning as it’s scorching when we first get in. Way too often, though, we see a scenario play out that could be deadly to your pets.

You plan to run to town for just a few stops and decide to bring your dog with you. You make sure you crack the windows for some air, but that air is hot and the inside of your car becomes as hot as an oven.

You had no intention of harming your pet, but when you get back to your car your dog is either roasting hot or could be expired. People just don’t realize that the temperature in your car raises so quickly and holds the heat in. This year, we have seen an increase in calls of dogs left in cars on warm days.

Some general rules of thumb:

— A car can be 10-20 degrees hotter inside than out in just one minute.

— A car can reach 112 degrees inside on a 70-degree day.

— Shade moves, so plan accordingly.

— Leave pets home on warmer days.

Travel trailers are also a problem for animals that live inside. When you leave your travel trailer for the day with your pets inside, remember the inside of the trailer can get extremely warm even with some windows left ajar.

It is also the time of year where we see an increase in water tragedies.

On hot days, people in our county flock to water wherever they can to go for a swim or just enjoy the shady banks of a local creek or the river. The water is still cold, and fast-moving water poses a great danger of drowning. Please use caution when swimming in these bodies of water.

Also, unlike most lakes, the rivers and some creeks have steep drop-offs that you can’t see. Because of the current, the water erodes away some of the bank and you find yourself over your head in the water just a very short distance from the shore.

Here are some tips for enjoying the water:

— Make sure kids wear a flotation device.

— Do not attempt to swim across fast-moving water because the current can drag you farther down the bank.

— Know where you are going because many of these swimming areas are on private property.

Enjoy the nice weather, but be mindful of staying safe. 

— Chad Clark is undersheriff of the Skagit County Sheriff's Office. Send questions to askpatrolchief@gmail.com.

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