Heat alarm keeps K9 officers safe in extreme heat

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (KPTV) — It’s dangerous to leave pets in a parked car under the heat of the sun, but sometimes police K-9 units say they don’t have a choice, based on some calls they go on.

To protect their K-9 officers, Beaverton Police SUVs are now equipped with heat alarms and AC units keep to keep dogs cool during hot Summer days.

To show FOX 12 how their alarms work, Beaverton Police Officer Anthony Bastinelli turned off his SUV with his K-9 Officer Kahz still inside, and walked away.

In 12 minutes, the temperature in his car rose from 72 degrees to 87 degrees. That drastic change in temperature was enough to trigger a heat sensor in the officer’s vehicle to push out an alert to a pager that he wears at all times, warning him that it is too hot in his car for Kahz.

That sensor also sets off a loud alarm and automatically rolls down the windows in Bastinelli’s car to allow fresh air inside.

“It’s part of the package they do for us when we get a K-9 vehicle. There’s a lot involved in setting all of it up, but it’s all to protect the dogs,” Bastinelli said adding that having a system like this is critical in high heat.

“It gets too hot for me, so I can imagine it does for him,” he continued. “If he gets too hot, like any other animal, he’ll start panting and become disoriented. Hopefully systems like this will prevent that.”

Bastinelli tells FOX 12 the department selects specific SUVs for their K-9 Units in part because of where the AC falls. In his car, there are two AC vents that push air down over the kennel, and directly onto Kahz.

FOX 12 has learned that K-9 vehicles within the Hillsboro, Marion County and Clackamas County are also equipped with similar systems.

The Portland Police Bureau officials said the department does not currently have heat alarms, but will most likely get them in their replacement vehicles. They added that when it’s hot outside, they typically leave the car running with AC on if a situation arises and the dog is left in the car.

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