The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is calling on people in Maryland to remove their house signs from their property to help reduce the number of people who die from heat stroke and other illnesses related to overheating.
The Maryland Department of Transportation said Thursday that it plans to install solar-powered heaters at nearly half of the state’s homes, which are expected to cost $2,000 each.
“The more people we’re taking out of their homes, the more we’re saving lives,” said ACLU of Maryland communications director Matt McGrath.
“People need to do their part and not leave their homes unattended.”
The ACLU of Virginia is also asking people to remove signs from yards and other public spaces in the city of Richmond to help curb the spread of heat-related illness.
“It is a huge problem and it’s not just the homeless,” said Stephanie Trewin, the group’s director of outreach and advocacy.
“We’re seeing many people are using their heaters, putting them in the street and leaving their cars parked in the driveway.”
The heat-safety initiative comes after a series of recent high-profile cases in Virginia.
Last year, a man died after running his vehicle into a tree, and in April, a homeless man died of heatstroke in the Baltimore area.
The state Department of Health and Human Services has also been working to address the problem, saying that the state has taken steps to prevent people from placing their own signs on their property.
But McGrath said the effort could be an expensive proposition.
“I don’t know how long it’s going to be a success,” he said.
“If it’s all going to work, it would be a $30 million effort.
A Maryland Department for the Environment spokeswoman said the state plans to purchase solar-electric heaters for at least half of its homes.”
In a lot of cases, the problem has to do with the fact that people don’t do it themselves.”
A Maryland Department for the Environment spokeswoman said the state plans to purchase solar-electric heaters for at least half of its homes.