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Press Release

HCSO Unveils New “Look Before You Lock” Initiative


HCSO Unveils New “Look Before You Lock” Initiative Today to Help Eliminate Child Deaths from Vehicular Heatstroke

HCSO Partners with Multiple Local Agencies

Hamilton County, TN – In a concerted effort with numerous community partners, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is taking the lead in Hamilton County and unveiling a new initiative focused on eliminating unnecessary child and pet deaths by vehicular heat stroke. The kickoff event will take place today at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at the Hixson Walmart located on Highway 153.

Numerous local, state, and federal agencies throughout the United States have incorporated various “Look Before You Lock” or “Where’s Baby” Initiatives focused on eliminating child deaths due to vehicular heatstroke.

Vehicular Heat Stroke occurs when children or pets are left in a car where the outside temperature and direct sunlight heats up the inside of the vehicle to a temperature hot enough to effectively cause death in a child or pet.

Statistically, child deaths due to vehicular heat stroke are at an all-time low since 1998. However, any death attributed to vehicular heat stroke is 100% preventable and completely unnecessary and unacceptable. Just this past Sunday, a three year old child died of vehicular heat stroke after being left in his parent’s car while they attended church.

Parents and caregivers are subjected to many distractions on a daily basis such as cell phones, text messaging, busy schedules, and in-car gadgets and the HCSO is greatly concerned that local drivers are becoming more and more distracted.

People often think that only “Bad Parents” leave their children unattended in hot cars, but the truth is, it can happen to any parent due to a momentary lack of judgment or a moment of irresponsible, distracted behavior. No child or pet should ever have to die in a hot car due to a parent or caregiver being distracted.

Therefore, in order to help raise awareness, the HCSO has partnered with Hamilton County EMS, Walmart, Erlanger Children’s Hospital, and the McKamey Animal Center to help remind parents and care givers to “Look Before You Lock!”

During to period of August 2nd – 5th a marked HCSO Patrol Unit will be rotated daily at various local Walmarts in Hamilton County and will display dual thermometers comparing the difference in temperature from inside to outside of the vehicle. The patrol unit schedule is as follows:

Tuesday – Hixson Walmart

Wednesday – Hamilton Place Walmart

Thursday – Signal Mountain Walmart

Friday – Soddy Daisy Walmart

During this time parents and caregivers may easily see the visible difference in temperature and how dangerous it can be to leave a child or a pet unattended in a car.

During the Kickoff Press event, Sheriff Hammond will be joined by HCEMS Director Ken Wilkerson, Erlanger Children’s Emergency Department Director, Dr. Darwin Koller, Walmart Marketing Manager for South East Tennessee, Jeff Eversole, and McKamey Community Outreach Officer, Jennifer Heinzel, to discuss ways to prevent vehicular heat stroke and how it can affect children and pets. Also on hand will be an Erlanger Tent and HCSO Safe Journey

Car-Seat Program Personnel.

Detailed Media Packets will be available for the media featuring safety tips and statistics necessary for story information and there will be numerous opportunities for B-Roll and interviews with speakers.

The HCSO will also have our new “Look Before You Lock” reminder stickers (removable) available for parents and caregivers who wish to have one to put on the inside of their driver-side door window reminding them to check their back seat.

The public, including children, are encouraged to attend.

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Phone: (423) 209-7000