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Heat Kills: Students' Signs Serve As Life-Saving Reminder In Westport

Julie Loparo, left, poses with Brandon Malin, Jordi Katz, Ali Green and First Selectmen Jim Marpe. In the back row are Animal Control Office Gina Gambino and Carla Eicher and Deputy Police Chief Vincent Penna.
Julie Loparo, left, poses with Brandon Malin, Jordi Katz, Ali Green and First Selectmen Jim Marpe. In the back row are Animal Control Office Gina Gambino and Carla Eicher and Deputy Police Chief Vincent Penna. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. — Westport kids and their furry friends are a little bit safer this summer due to an imaginative project by three Staples High School students.

Brandon Malin, Alison Green and Jordi Katz teamed up to create heat safety signs for local parking lots, reminding drivers about the dangers of leaving children and pets in parked cars in the summer heat.

With support from First Selectman Jim Marpe, the Westport Police Department, the Department of Public Works and Westport Animal Shelter Advocates (WASA), the trio planned to install signs in town-owned lots and some private lots around Westport this summer.

“I am very proud of the students,” Marpe said. “This is a great example of Westport's volunteer spirit and how well the town and schools work together towards a common goal.”

Malin conceived of the campaign and organized crowdfunding and sign production. Green and Katz created eye-catching artwork in their Design & Technology class, a graphics design course taught by Staples High School art teacher Carla Eichler.

The signs will provide a crucial reminder, according to Police Chief Foti Koskinas.

“It doesn’t take long for a car to become overheated, and even ‘quick trips’ into a business take longer than you think,” he said.

On a pleasant, 75-degree day, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can reach 100 degrees in as little as 20 minutes. On an 80-degree day, it only takes 10 minutes.

Annually, between 35 and 50 children in the U.S. die in parked vehicles due to heatstroke. Countless pets die as well.

“As advocates for our furry family members and dogs throughout Connecticut, WASA is delighted to work with the Town of Westport to provide signs that can save lives,” said WASA President Julie Loparo.

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