Off-duty Tri-Cities EMT takes swift action, unlocks hot car with child inside


JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)- With the weather warming up, law enforcement agencies want people to keep an eye out for children in hot cars. Wednesday afternoon an off-duty Tri-Cities first responder, did just that.

We told you Wednesday night at 6 on WJHL the Smyth County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office put up a Facebook post, saying it only takes 10 minutes for a car’s temperature to rise by 20 degrees.

It is something that could turn deadly for a child left alone in a car.   

In just the past several weeks, officers around the US have responded to deaths involving a child being left alone in a hot car.

Wednesday we learned an EMS worker for Johnson City and Washington County kept the same thing from happening.

On this hot and sunny day, a day where temperatures climbed into the 90’s, Justin Norton found himself in a Johnson City parking lot having to think fast.

“I heard a woman crying, then I heard another lady say that she was calling 911. She told me that she had locked her grandson in the car accidentally,” Norton said.

Ad an EMT, Norton said he’s trained to stay calm in emergency situations.

“Because when you start panicking, is when you start losing your mind,” Norton said.

His first thought was how was he going to get the child out of the hot car.

“Do I break the glass, or do I find another way,” Norton said.

Norton said the car window was cracked about an inch, so he took a different approach. He said he used a windshield wiper to reach down, and unlock the car.

Wednesday evening we spoke to Sergeant Terry Hardin with the Johnson City Police Department.

“Please, call 911 first,” Hardin said.

Sergeant Hardin said along with calling for help its important to stay calm, as every second counts in a situation like this.

“60 seconds in something like that could make the difference between life and death of a child,” Hardin said.

A photo taken just minutes after the ordeal shows the baby safe, back in the arms of their grandmother.

Norton said he was thankful he just happened to be in the right place, at the right time.

“I’m happy that it didn’t turn out to be a worse situation that what it was,” Norton said.

Officials with the Johnson City Police Department say if this happens to you, be sure to double check the locks on all the doors and windows. They reiterated that you should first call 911 if you do see a child locked inside a car.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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