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Two Boaz departments are sending a strong message about leaving kids and pets in hot cars

BOAZ, Ala. -- Two Marshall County departments organized a display at a popular shopping center that is meant to make an impact and ultimately, save lives.

A thick layer of clouds covered the sun in Marshall County Wednesday morning. That lack of abundant sunshine didn't have an adverse affect on a display put on by the Boaz Police Department, Boaz Fire and Rescue, and Alexander Ford. In fact, it proved a point.

Two emergency response vehicles belonging to Boaz's fire and police departments create bookends for a blue car sandwiched between them. Inside that blue car is a thermometer. At ten o'clock in the morning under an overcast sky, it read 100 degrees.

A sign reading 'never leave children alone in or around cars' finishes the display that greeted Boaz Walmart shoppers.

"We have a vehicle parked up there that has a thermometer inside, so anyone driving by or walking by can see just how hot it's getting inside that parked vehicle," explained Boaz Police Deputy Chief Josh Gaskin, "Yesterday, the thermometer completely maxed out at 120 degrees, and the car that we have parked up there is in the shade."

That sends a message the responders hope sticks: to never leave children inside a vehicle alone, even for a moment.

Recently, Boaz Police officers arrested a couple for leaving a toddler alone in a hot car while they went to Walmart. One of the firemen who responded to the call came up with the idea for the display and approached the police department. Both organizations put it into motion.

"Every year we get calls like that. Fortunately, it's not something that we deal with on a daily basis, but if it happens one time it's too much, and we don't want a child to die before we have to start bringing awareness to it," Gaskin said.

The display is also a reminder not to leave your pets inside a hot car. The agencies plan to bring down the display Thursday.