The Wilton Police Department and state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) have teamed up for an initiative throughout town called Heat Kills, If you Love ‘em, Don’t Leave ‘em. The project is associated with the dangers of leaving children and pets in vehicles during the hot summer months.

Signs reminding people of the dangers can be found in several locations throughout town, including the parking lot areas of Caraluzzi's, Gateway Shopping Plaza, and Village Market. The signs include the phone number of the police department.

If people see children or pets left in vehicles, they are encouraged to call the police.

Leaving a window open is not enough since temperatures inside the car can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open. Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke and possibly death, police said.

“Recent incidents in Ridgefield and Westport have demonstrated that not everyone is mindful of how dangerous it is to leave children or dogs in a car during hot or even warm weather, and this is an excellent way to raise awareness of the risks and to remind people who might forget,” Lavielle said in a police press release. “Seconds can save a life, and the signs should also make people comfortable about calling the police if they notice a child, a dog, or any animal alone in a hot car … I thank Chief [John] Lynch, Capt. [Rob] Cipolla, and the Wilton police force for being so responsive, as well as all the businesses that are hosting a sign.”

Lavielle got the idea for the initiative from her colleague state Rep. Brenda Kupchick who introduced it in Fairfield. “I thought it would be just as helpful for our town,” she said.