POULSBO — Residents in Kitsap County had, as of Aug. 3, heeded warnings to not leave children or pets unattended in their cars as temperatures soared to record highs in the Puget Sound region this week.
With news of the impending heatwave, the Suquamish Police Department released a sternly-worded message on its Facebook page warning drivers that officers would not hesitate to do whatever was necessary to free a child or pet from a hot car.
“Fair warning: If you leave a child or a pet unattended in a car anywhere in Suquamish or Indianola during this heat spell, we will immediately smash your windows out to save their life, and charge you with endangering the life of an innocent,” the statement read in part, in all capital letters.
The message did not go unnoticed, as it was shared nearly 3,000 times on Facebook and became the subject of local media reports both in Kitsap County and across the water in Seattle.
At 3:45 p.m. Aug. 2, Poulsbo Police responded to a call on 3rd Avenue NE about a baby left in a car in a residential driveway. However, the door to the car was open the entire time, said Police Chief Dan Schoonmaker, as the mother unloaded other children from the car.
By the time officers arrived at the residence, just down the street from police headquarters, the baby was already inside the air-conditioned house. The call was cleared with no report and no aid necessary.
“I think everyone is on the lookout for it, which is good. We don’t want anyone to die in the heat emergency,” Schoonmaker said.
Port Orchard Police Chief Geoffrey Marti said there had been no heat-related incidents reported as of press time Aug. 3.
“We were gearing up for that,” Marti said. “The weather has obviously depressed the number of people out and about. We haven’t had any medical emergencies attributed to the heat.”
Most libraries and city halls in Kitsap remained open through Aug. 4 as cooling stations for those in need of a place to escape the heat.
Public health officials advised residents to minimize their exposure to the outdoor heat, to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated when outdoors, and to keep pets inside and check in on older family members and neighbors.
In addition, the heat and diminished air quality — primarily because of the fires in British Columbia — compelled authorities to establish a ban on all outdoor burning in Kitsap.
The burn ban includes campfires or bonfires, charcoal barbecues, chimineas, fire bowls, fire pits, or similar free-standing devices.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Terryl Asla and Sophie Bonomi of Kitsap News Group contributed to this report.