A bill that would allow emergency personnel to remove pets trapped in cars was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.

The measure is meant to expand the authorization in the law covering first responders, including emergency medical service personnel, paid and volunteer firefighters, to help remove pets who have been locked inside cars.

Currently, animal control officers and police with authorization can rescue the animals when trapped in cars during hot or cold temperatures. Existing law has a procedure in place for police officers or animal control officers to open a vehicle when the owner cannot be promptly located. Officers are not held criminally or civilly liable for taking those actions.

“To better protect the health and well-being of companion animals confined in an unattended motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold temperatures without proper ventilation or other protection from such extreme temperatures where such confinement places the companion animal in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury,” the bill’s memo states.

The new law takes effect immediately.