Published: September 21, 2023
Bartow, Fla. (Sept. 21, 2023) — Polk County Fire Rescue (PCFR) has partnered with A Safe Haven for Newborns foundation to promote the safe harboring of newborns throughout Polk County.
To encourage the safe harboring of newborns and to inform the public that every Polk County Fire Rescue station is designated as a Safe Haven location for newborns, PCFR has placed reflective Safe Haven stickers on to its apparatus traveling throughout Polk County. The stickers serve as a reminder to the residents and visitors throughout Polk County that Polk County Fire Rescue is always here to help.
The idea to partner with A Safe Haven for Newborns stemmed from two incidents of newborn abandonment reported within Polk County. According to A Safe Haven for Newborns website, there have been a total of ten newborn incidents reported throughout Florida in 2023, eight of which being were successfully surrendered to designated Safe Haven locations.
“Unsafe newborn abandonment is a very serious and potentially deadly issue that can be prevented with the correct measures and education in place,” said Fire Chief Hezedean Smith, D.M. “Polk County Fire Rescue is honored to collaborate with A Safe Haven for Newborns to ensure that effective and safe measures are in place for anyone who may find themselves in a difficult situation. Our partnership aims to offer the best and most secure options available for the well-being of all involved.”
Safe Haven locations include hospital emergency rooms, fire rescue stations and emergency medical service stations. Parents of newborns can take their unharmed newborns (up to seven days old) to any PCFR station instead of leaving them somewhere unsafe or doing something they may regret later. The baby must be given to a worker or employee at the Safe Haven location to ensure that the newborn will be safe and is properly taken care of.