Safe Surrender Sites

Published 05/15 2014 11:30PM

Updated 05/15 2014 11:37PM

California adopted the Safe Haven Law in 2001 in order to prevent a newborn from ever being abandoned.

The blue and white signs associated with the program are easy to recognize, but the problem is not everyone understands how they can help safe a baby's life.

"In our profession we can experience every possible human emotion in a 24 hour period and these type of stories are the ones we fear the most," said Escobedo.
Fresno Fire Battalion Chief, Tony Escobedo, says responding to a child's death is terrible, but when it could have been prevented that makes it even worse.

"You can turn children into the fire station and we can take care of them," said Escobedo.
Escobedo is referring to the Safe Haven Law, which designates fire stations and hospitals to be Safe Surrender Sites.  Meaning a person can drop off an unwanted infant with no questions asked.

"The program is designed to be non-judgmental.  It's not our job to do that.  Whatever circumstances lead to that situation for that family, it is what it is," said Escobedo.

Some may choose not to have personal contact, so they'll ring the bell and leave the baby at the door.  But firefighters prefer folks to meet them face to face so they can give them a newborn surrender kit.

"It comes with some questionnaires that allows us to evaluate in Spanish or in English what the health history of the child is," said Escobedo.
The kit also allows the guardian to be fitted with an i-d wrist bracelet and the baby an ankle tag, which enables the two of them to stay connected.

"That way if they want their child back all they have to do is call a number and they can go through the process of doing so," said Escobedo.

To learn more, call the national hotline for the safe haven alliance at (888) 510-BABY.

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