What should you do if you see a pet locked inside a hot car?

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HOT DOG: Temperatures in a car can rise to dangerous levels and can rapidly reach more than double the outside temperature even on mild days. Six minutes is all it takes for a pet to suffer potentially fatal heatstroke.

Last month, we rescued over 100 pets from cars, with the majority of calls received by the vehicle owner.

You do not need to be a Member to call the NRMA in this situation, however you must be the vehicle owner. Because of the grave danger involved, we drop everything to respond to these calls which are managed through a priority line. Upon arrival, we provide skills and equipment to enter the vehicle or support emergency services.

The majority of these emergency calls are made by the vehicle owner, where permission has been given to access the vehicle. If you are not the vehicle custodian (eg, passer-by), try the obvious solution of checking if any doors are unlocked. If not, you should contact the emergency services immediately (000) who will liaise directly with the NRMA or who may break the window themselves, depending on the circumstances. 

While most vehicles can be unlocked by following appropriate lock-out procedures, there will be circumstances when breaking a window will be the most reasonable action.

Criminal Offence 

There are specific provisions in relation to ‘Carriage and Conveyance’ of animals in the Prevention of cruelty to Animals Act. In relation to dogs locked in cars, section 5 would apply: “a person in charge of an animal shall not fail at any time (b) where pain is being inflicted upon the animal to take such reasonable steps as are necessary to alleviate the pain”.

In relation to the provision of water, Section 8 (1) states that ‘a person in charge of an animal shall not fail to provide the animal with food, drink or shelter etc’.

These offences can carry fines of $5,500 and up to six months in jail. If a dog dies as a result of being left in a car, charges include $22,500 in fines and two years jail time for the owner.

We encourage all our Members to take the RSPCA Pledge to never leave your dog in a hot car.

Have you ever come across a pet locked inside a vehicle. What did you do? 

Keeping your pets safe when driving

Love That Pet - Dog in car

Every year in Australia over 5000 dogs are injured in motor vehicle accidents. Whether it is a short or a long trip, making sure your pet is properly secured protects you, your pet and other passengers from serious injury.

As a vet, I have seen some serious injuries from falls and crashes where pets were not properly restrained. For example, a young pup taking its first trip on the back of a ute in the centre of Sydney fell off. Thankfully he escaped with only minor injuries and it was a great reminder that dogs should always be tethered on utes.

Inside the car, an unrestrained pet can form a very heavy and dangerous projectile. Even at low speeds of around 20km/h your pet could end up flying through the windscreen should you hit another vehicle. If you really want to scare yourself, check out this YouTube video showing some crash test doggies in simulated crashes designed to test some common car restraints.


So how do we keep our pets safe?

Firstly it is illegal in all states of Australia to have our pets sitting on our lap during the drive. We’ve all seen it, we may have even done it before, but there are so many reasons why this is dangerous. While I consider myself to be an excellent driver, accidents do happen and of course they are never my fault!

The other legalities of travelling with pets are state specific, but country-wide a pet must be properly restrained and not interfering with the driver’s ability to concentrate. Owners can also be fined under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act if their animal is injured in an accident due to being improperly restrained.

So what sort of restraint should I use?

Pet-Seatbelts from petco.comThere are a number of different options available. Unfortunately not all of them set out to perform as they should..  If you are tethering using a seatbelt harness, check that it has been crash tested at a realistic speed, at least 35 km/h. If using a pet travel carrier ensure that it is very well secured as it can become a lethal object in a crash, with or without a pet inside. The best place for any pet or carrier is behind a cargo barrier in the rear of the vehicle. If this is not possible, secure the carrier with the seat belt around it.

Travel with cats and small furries

Cats and smaller creatures like ferrets and rodents should always be in a proper cat carrier in a vehicle. My favourite story to convince owners to ensure their cats are secure involves a tiny kitten that managed to escape its owner’s arms in a car and ended up hiding behind the steering wheel column. The car had to be taken apart to get the terrified kitten out. Cats love to hide so the best way to transport them is in a proper cat carrier behind a cargo barrier or with the seatbelt secured around it. Visit here to find some tips on how to safely and easily get your cat into the carrier.

So how do you keep your pets safe in the car? What sort of restraint do you have?

Dr-Eloise-BrightAuthor Bio: With 7 years of small animal vet practice in Sydney, Dr. Eloise Bright from www.lovethatpet.com is an animal lover and advocate for all animals from baby birds to stray kittens. Chat with her and her dog, Duster and cat, Jimmy on Google+.

Take two: authorities work to avoid repeat of traffic chaos caused by George St closure

MORE DELAYS FORECAST: The road closures will be in place until January 12.

MORE DELAYS FORECAST: The road closures will be in place until January 12.

They were the road works that took Sydney by surprise – and transport groups are working to avoid a repeat of the resulting chaos.

Northern Sydney residents returning to work in the CBD after the Christmas holidays had even more reason to be glum after getting caught for hours in a traffic jam caused by the closure of George St for light rail construction.

At one stage, the queue of buses stretched back across the Harbour Bridge and city workers reported delays of up to two hours.

It was later revealed that cabling for a key traffic light phasing unit had been damaged by crews working on the light rail, hampering efforts by authorities to manage the crisis.

A Transport for NSW spokesman said one eastbound lane will reopen on Grosvenor St between 4-8pm today as part of a revised traffic plan that will also introduce sweeping changes to morning peak hour traffic flows.

A key change is the re-routing of express buses from the northern suburbs and beaches via the Cahill Expressway with a set-down on Bridge St, removing more than 100 buses from York St.

“Hillsbus services to the Queen Victoria Building will travel via the Western Distributor and Bathurst Street instead of York Street, also removing more than 100 buses from York Street during the morning peak,” he said.

“Motorists and bus customers should still expect some delays because early work is focused on some of the busiest intersections in the city.”

Bus tickets can be used to catch trains between Chatswood and the City on the T1 North Shore Line as well as City Circle trains.

The spokesman said the road closures – which will be in place until January 12 – were put in place now because traffic is at its lightest at this time of year.

The work involves identifying and relocating utilities such as power, gas and telecommunications.

Do you find that traffic is lighter at this time of year?

Transport for NSW statement

Driving interstate? Your NRMA Membership benefits explained

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Ever worried what happens if your driving interstate and your car breaks down?
Here’s a rundown on interstate benefits and how to get assistance from across the border as an NRMA Member.

Wherever you are in Australia, NRMA Road Assist is arranged through the same 13 11 11 phone number, which diverts calls to the relevant state based motoring club. Each affiliate club will gather all the relevant breakdown information and contact the originating club to confirm a valid Membership.

The National Roads and Motorists’s Association is affiliated with all six state based Motoring Organisations, which include:AAA map

motoring clubs

Under the reciprocal arrangements, NRMA Members have access to affiliated clubs’ standard levels of Road Assistance Services.These benefits differ from the entitlements NRMA Members receive for breakdowns in NSW and ACT.

  • AANT and RAASA Standard benefits include assistance to mobilise vehicles, 8km towing in metropolitan areas and 32km towing in country areas.
  • RACQ Club Care benefits include assistance to mobilise vehicles, 10km towing in any direction or up to 40km towing to the attending RACQ Contractor’s premises.
  • RACT Advantage benefits include assistance to mobilise vehicles, up to 15km towing in the city and up to 32km back to the nearest agent in the country.
  • RACV Roadside Care benefits include assistance to mobilise vehicles, 20km towing in metropolitan areas and 120km towing in country areas.
  • RACWA Standard benefits include assistance to mobilise vehicles and 10km towing in “Guaranteed Service” (city) areas, and 80km of travel to mobilise vehicles and 80km towing in “Non-Guaranteed Service” (other) areas.

Members can also receive free maps and discounted attraction tickets, when showing a current club Membership Card.

NRMA Premium Care and Premium Plus Members, are however entitled to receive the same towing entitlements Australia Wide, which includes 50kms metropolitan and regional towing as well as 100kms free remote towing. To arrange these benefits, a current Premium Care Member can contact the Premium Care hotline If 1300 772 273 from anywhere in Australia.

Premium Care and Premium Plus Membership holders can also access up to $3000 worth of Major Mechanical Assistance, including car hire, accommodation and passenger transport. These benefits are available to assist when a major mechanical breakdown occurs more than 100kms from home which cannot be repaired in less than 24 hours. This benefit is also available for Traveler Care Members.

Therefore, if you are regularly travelling greater distances, including interstate, or tow a caravan, Premium Care or Premium Plus may be a better suited option.

Have you ever needed to call Roadside Assistance when interstate? How would you rate your experience? 

NRMA laptops change kids’ lives in Cambodia

Chris-and-kids

HELP: Chris Swadling and Opportunity Cambodia’s Carolyn Fletcher with some of the children at the centre and the laptops. NRMA IT were delighted to be able to deliver some new laptops and equipment to the Children’s Education Centre within Siem Reap Province of Cambodia.

NRMA has gifted six refurbished laptops and other equipment to an orphanage/education centre in rural Cambodia to help develop the computer skills of 70 local children.

Group Infrastructure Engineer Chris Swadling took the laptops, a 3G modem and surge protector to the Children’s Education Centre in the heart of the village of Anlong Samnar within Siem Reap Province of Cambodia.

Chris set up a local area network and organised a Microsoft Office and English typing tutor for the centre, which also provides food, clothing, medical care, recreation, transport and lodging in some cases.

His trip took place over five days in November and the project was carried out to aid the Cambodian Education and Development fund (Cambodia) in partnership with Opportunity Cambodia.

Kids-with-laptops

Opportunity Cambodia provides educational opportunities for children from destitute families.

“The trip was incredible,” Chris said. “I was shown around the rural community and was stunned at the conditions these children were living in prior to being taken in by the centre. I interacted with the children and staff in their daily activities including meals, sports and classes and they even treated me to a traditional Khmer dancing show.

“I left feeling confident that the work I had done was for a great cause and would actually make a difference to these children’s futures.”

Group Chief Information Officer Glenn Mason said the NRMA ICT team was happy to provide the centre with the fully operational laptops and access to the internet which will enrich their education.

“We were happy to send Chris Swaddling from the ICT team to represent NRMA on site where he set up the first computers they have ever had, to the delight of charity organisers, and spent time exploring the work of the charity,” he said.

At NRMA, we believe education is the best gift we can offer children. This Christmas, if you have anything to give to help educate the poorest kids in Cambodia, you can do so here. Thanks.