By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– During the evening hours of January 28th, a young female arrived at Fire Station 302 in Hesperia stating she had just given birth to twins and wanted to leave the newborns at the station under safe-surrender.
Fire Captain Andrea Binley and her fire crew immediately took possession of the babies and assessed their medical needs. Prior to arriving at the fire station, both infants had been cared for, cleaned up and fed, and were in good medical condition. The newborns were then transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital for further evaluation. The mother refused medical attention and was provided information and instructions on how to reclaim her children in the event she wished to do so in accordance with the safe-surrender state law.
“This is exactly why the Safe Surrender program was created,” said Fire Chief Mark Hartwig. “This young mother did the right thing by bringing her babies to the fire station. Regardless of your circumstances, the Safe Surrender program is a viable and loving option – no questions asked.”
Pursuant to Health & Safety Code 1255.7 and California Penal Code 271.5, also known as the “Safe-Haven Law”, state law provides immunity for mothers or persons in lawful custody of newborn infants less than seventy-two (72) hours who surrender these infants to a designated “safe-surrender site” from criminal prosecution. This policy was developed to prevent newborn infants from being abandoned resulting in serious injury or death. The law specifies that the person with lawful physical custody, after surrendering the child, have 14 days to change their mind and reclaim the baby.
On August 24, 2004, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution designating San Bernardino County fire stations as Safe Haven sites. Since this time, San Bernardino County Fire Protection District fire stations are equipped as Safe-Surrender sites. Fire stations that are not staffed full-time are not considered a Safe-Surrender site; however, these stations have a phone located outside the station that will connect directly to the dispatch center. Safe-Surrender signs are displayed at all surrender locations.