POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Polk County Fire Rescue has partnered with A Safe Haven for Newborns Foundation to inform the public that every Polk County Fire Rescue station is designated as a Safe Haven location for newborns.
The fire rescue said it has added stickers to its fire trucks in an effort to promote the safe harboring of newborns throughout the county.
Officials said the stickers serve as a reminder to Polk County residents and visitors that Polk County Fire Rescue is there to help.
Polk County Fire Rescue said A Safe Haven for Newborns has reported a total of 10 newborn abandonment incidents throughout Florida this year, with eight of them 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 also include hospital emergency rooms, fire rescue stations and emergency medical service stations.
Unharmed newborns up to 7 days old can be taken to any Safe Haven location, including Polk County Fire Rescue stations.
The baby must be given to a worker or employee at the Safe Haven location to ensure the newborn will be safe and taken care of. There is one Safe Haven Baby Box in Ocala, where newborns can be anonymously surrendered.
To learn more about the Safe Haven program, click here or call 877-767-2229.