Ind. EMS, Fire Stations Play Role in 'Safe Haven Baby Boxes' for Unwanted Babies

Ind. EMS, Fire Stations Play Role in 'Safe Haven Baby Boxes' for Unwanted Babies

News Nov 19, 2017

Post-Tribune, Merrillville, Ind.

Nov. 17—After hearing a newborn girl had been placed in the Safe Haven Baby Box at the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department near Michigan City on Nov. 9, Monica Kelsey started crying.

"Now this little girl is going to grow up because of our efforts, and she wouldn't have," said Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes and a firefighter in Woodburn, outside of Fort Wayne. She was abandoned as an infant and fought to get clearance for the boxes from the Indiana Department of Child Services.

That call was the first use of the Coolspring Township box since it was installed in April 2016. The second box in Indiana, in Woodburn, has yet to be used.

Kelsey said she's received inquiries from across the country about the boxes, including more than 250 calls and emails in one day. The boxes provide complete anonymity for a baby's mother and a silent alarm alerts emergency medical services personnel that the box is in use.

Four boxes are scheduled for installation in Indiana and Ohio next year, although Kelsey declines to be specific about where.

Local officials said they would be willing to consider the boxes.

"I would have to say it would not ultimately be my decision, but in my opinion, it would be worth entertaining this, or a similar instrument, as it is likely better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it," said Chesterton Police Chief David Cincoski.

"If there is the opportunity to save or prolong life, as to the alternative, it would be worthy of an investigative look."

The day after the infant was left in, a passerby found what emergency medical service personnel confirmed were the remains of childbirth in a portable toilet along the Prairie Duneland bicycle trail in Chesterton. Cincoski said it was being investigated to determine the welfare of mother and baby, not as a criminal matter. There was no update yet on whether the birth was related to the baby in the box, he said.

Continue Reading

Also interested in learning more about the boxes is Crown Point Fire Chief David Crane, though he said he's unsure of the demand since the one in Coolspring Township went unused for a year and a half.

"Fire stations have been a safe haven to drop off your child for 15 years, and we've not had anyone do that in Crown Point," he said. "The twist to that is the anonymity" provided by the boxes.

Under Indiana's Safe Haven Law, an unwanted infant can be left anonymously at hospitals, police and fire stations, without fear of prosecution.

As long as the baby has no signs of intentional abuse, no information is required of the person leaving the baby. After examination, the infant is placed with a caregiver through Child Protective Services.

Crane said he isn't opposed to looking into the boxes, although the Crown Point station is centrally located and staffed around the clock, except when firefighters are out on a call. The alarm in the box would alert personnel about a baby and Crane said he would want to know about any cost and responsibility for maintenance of it and the box's heating system.

"I have a lot of information I need to gather, but I'm not opposed to it," he said.

For Kelsey, the Coolspring Township case reiterated the need for the cause she supports.

"This was a huge boost for the Safe Haven community on education and awareness because more people are aware of the Safe Haven Law because of what this mother did," she said.

The box, Kelsey and Coolspring Township fire officials said, worked as it was supposed to—giving anonymity to the mother and care for the baby.

The boxes are meant as a last resort for mothers who cannot hand an infant over to authorities face to face.

"I don't think they don't care what happens to their child," Kelsey said. "If this is all they can do, then this is enough."

Source
McClatchy
Amy Lavalley
A reorganization of the WTC Health Program for first responders affected by the toxins at Ground Zero could negatively impact their healthcare.
Sonoma County dispatchers were understaffed and had not been trained in coaching citizens trapped by the wildfires that killed 24 people.
The San Antonio Fire Department has released its position statement on the management of patients with potential spinal injuries.
If passed, the bill will allow medical professionals with firearms training to carry weapons when responding to an event with a SWAT team.
NENA members met with policymakers to discuss major improvements for the 9-1-1 system.
The 2018 ESO EMS index highlights areas of improvement such as documenting stroke assessment, 12-lead EKG use, and aspirin administration.
Retained firefighter Ian Norris is running his final London Marathon in memory of a local doctor to raise vital funds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
Users trained in CPR are alerted by the app of people nearby experiencing cardiac arrest.
Stop the Bleed kits are housed in about 345 schools statewide where staff members are also trained in bleeding control techniques.
Gov. Cuomo's 2014 gun control law kept 75,000 mentally ill people from owning firearms, a measure he thinks could save lives around the country.
The need for the program was identified after the Pulse nightclub shooting, when multiple consulates contacted the hospital to see if any of their nationals were victims of the attack.
ACP says a lack of policy on firearms is why the U.S. remains a country with one of the highest rates of gun violence in the world.  
Norwalk firefighters taught citizens CPR in a Valentine's Day-themed class and informed them of AED locations in the city.
Dispatch center communications are expected to evolve in ways that would allow home appliances and wristbands to call 9-1-1 for patients who are unable to do so.
Franklin County Emergency Services Alliance aims to assess the challenges first responders face that cause shortages of EMS providers across the country.