Safely surrender babies at county fire stations

Tulare County Fire Chief Joe Garcia is reminding everyone as celebrate the holidays and the end the year, some people are not so fortunate and they find themselves in some very difficult situations, such as a baby which they are unable to care for.

“But there is always a way out if we look for it. This is truly the case with the ‘Safely Surrender Baby Law,’” Garcia said. “This law allows parents or persons having custody of newborns, which can not otherwise care for these helpless babies, to place them in a safe environment where the infant will be well cared for.”

The “Safely Surrendered Baby Law” was permanently signed into law January 2006. The law provides a safe alternative for the surrender of a newborn baby in specific circumstances; the newborn is 72 hours or younger, and establishes safe surrender sites at hospitals or other locations, typically fire stations. Safe surrender sites are required to display a special blue and white logo decal. A baby can be safely surrendered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A parent or person having lawful custody of a newborn is granted immunity from criminal prosecution for abandonment if the newborn, up to 72 hours old and is delivered to an employee on duty.

Though no newborns have been surrendered to any Tulare County fire station, 162 newborns have been safely surrendered in California while another 139 infants have been found alive following their illegal abandonment. Additional information can be found about the Safely Surrendered Baby Law at the following web site: http://www.babysafe.ca.gov/.

If a parent, feeling the need to abandon a baby may not have the means to transport that baby to one of the three hospital emergency rooms located in Tulare County. The Tulare County Fire Department has fire stations located in, or within close proximity to many communities throughout the county.

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