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FORT SMITH – Parents struggling in the River Valley will have access to a new resource designed to help them with their newborns.

Fire Station No. 89 at 8900 Massard Road is expected to be the site of Safe Haven Baby Box by the end of the year, said Phil Christensen, fire chief. It will help parents who are thinking of leaving their child, which will allow them to hand over the child anonymously to the station staff.

Christensen said Tuesday he was not aware of any infant abandonment cases in Fort Smith, but according to his research, 931 children across the country have been left at the fire department or police station for the past 93 years. In addition, it is estimated that since 2017, 18 children have remained in baby boxes.

The city council voted 6-0 on July 20 to approve a five-year deal with Indiana Safe Haven Baby Boxes, which provided the device for Fire Station 11. 1 ared Rego, director of ward 1 և deputy mayor is absent

The city will pay $ 10,000 in advance to Safe Haven Baby Boxes for $ 200 per year, as well as all installation costs under the agreement.

Safe Haven Baby Boxs will have the device և will perform a number of services annually. This includes the provision of materials related to the maintenance of the device, the repair or replacement of parts, the provision of public information about the device այլ other educational resources և the use of a toll-free telephone number that the public can use in emergencies related to abandoned children or related problems.

Area resident Sharon Kersh has been in contact with the facility to install a baby box in February, according to a June 18 battalion commander, Darrell Clark, wrote to Christensen.

“The box will be placed in the outer wall of the 11th fire station,” Clark wrote. “There is an external door, which, when opened, sends a silent alarm to our dispatch center. There is a swimming pool for the child inside. An electron beam passes by it, which, when broken, sends a second silent alarm for delivery. When the front door closes, it sends a third silent alarm to the dispatcher. The dispatcher informs the fire service, the staff takes the child out of the box through the inner door. “

Clark wrote that the staff will contact the Fort Smith emergency medical services, which will then give a medical evaluation to the child. The child would then be taken to a hospital and then taken to the Arkansas Department of Human Services, according to Christensen.

According to Clark, Sharon and Eugene Kersh offered to cover the initial $ 10,000 for the baby box. Local contractor Donny Wise helped choose the best location for the box և Together with Glenda Wise, he offered to cover the installation costs by donating materials ուժ manpower. The fire department intends to cover additional installation costs and fees, as well as the cost of advertising the device, through donations.

Christensen said Fire Station 11 was partially selected for the device because its secluded location would allow potential parents to remain anonymous.

Baby boxes can be found in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, according to the Safe Haven Baby Boxes website. This includes fire stations in Benton, Conway, ones onsborough, Rogers փ Springdale.

Rogers Deputy Fire Chief Cliff Thompson said the department’s baby box was at Fire Station 5 at 2525 S. Pinnacle Hills Pkwy. opened for service in March. 3400 S. First St. The second children’s box is installed in the fire station No. 7.

Thompson said that with no children left in Rogers’ crib so far, the community would rather be proactive than respond.

According to Thompson, the box is the last safe way to prevent parents from doing anything that would harm their child. If a parent applies for the Safe Haven Baby Boxes hotline, they will receive support and referrals if needed.

They will also be encouraged to take their child to a hospital or other facility where, if possible, they can give in face to face. If a parent decides that an alternative is not acceptable, they will be directed to the nearest baby box.

Springdale Firefighters (Reflected) demonstrate the features of the Safe Haven Baby Box on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 48th Street Springdale Fire Station.  The device allows the person to hand over the child anonymously to the station staff.  Opening the box gives a signal to the fire station as it sends a signal to the dispatcher.  A similar box will be installed at some point on the outer wall of Fort Smith Fire Station # 11.  It comes after the Fort Smith Board of Directors voted in its July 20 meeting to approve a resolution authorizing Mayor George Org McGill to sign a five-year lease-in-Indiana Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc. To provide such funds.  device for the station.  Visit nwaonline.com/21000729Daily/ և nwadg.com/photo:  (NWA Democrat-Gazette / JT Wampler)

Springdale Firefighters (Reflected) demonstrate the features of the Safe Haven Baby Box on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 48th Street Springdale Fire Station. The device allows the person to hand over the child anonymously to the station staff. Opening the box gives a signal to the fire station as it sends a signal to the dispatcher. A similar box will be installed at some point on the outer wall of Fort Smith Fire Station # 11. It comes after the Fort Smith Board of Directors voted in its July 20 meeting to approve a resolution authorizing Mayor George Org McGill to sign a five-year lease-in-Indiana Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc. To provide such funds. device for the station. Visit nwaonline.com/21000729Daily/ և nwadg.com/photo: (NWA Democrat-Gazette / JT Wampler)

Fort Smith Fire and Rescuer Charles Little opens the inner door of the Safe Haven Baby Box, which will be installed near the outer wall at Fort Smith Smith Fire Station 11, 8900 Massard Road, 8900.  The box is air-conditioned և has a silent alarm, which is transmitted to the dispatch center when the front door is opened.  (Special NWA Democrat Gazette / Brian Sanderford)

Fort Smith Fire and Rescuer Charles Little opens the inner door of the Safe Haven Baby Box, which will be installed near the outer wall at Fort Smith Smith Fire Station 11, 8900 Massard Road, 8900. The box is air-conditioned և has a silent alarm, which is transmitted to the dispatch center when the front door is opened. (Special NWA Democrat Gazette / Brian Sanderford)

Additional news:

Arkansas Code §9-34-202-Delivery to Medical Supplier, Law Enforcement, or Fire Department

The law stipulates that any health care provider, law enforcement or fire department will detain a child 30 days or younger without a court order if the child’s parent leaves the child with them without expressing an intention to return. or voluntarily transfer the child to them or to a “neonatal safety device”.

This device must be voluntarily installed by a healthcare provider, law enforcement or fire department within a physically located facility that is open 24 hours a day by a healthcare provider, and is clearly visible to staff in that facility.

Source: 1987 Arkansas Code

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