On Tuesday, May 24, 2005, the Orange County Board of Supervisors designated 138 fire stations in Orange County as Safe Surrender sites for mothers who have a newborn infant that they wish to surrender. This program is aimed at giving young mothers who feel they cannot keep their baby, and who desire anonymity to turn the baby over to authorities without being identified. The goal is to try and prevent abandonment in trash dumpsters or other locations where the child may die.
Since 2001, emergency rooms and Orangewood Children’s Home have been designated as Safe Surrender sites. The designation of fire stations in surrounding counties led to confusion about whether fire stations in Orange County were Safe Surrender sites. The abandonment last year of a child in a dumpster in south Orange County also caused concern.
If an infant is surrendered at a fire station, the mother or other caretaker does not have to identify herself and may leave the child with fire fighters without fear of prosecution or identification. Mothers will be asked to voluntarily fill out an anonymous medical history form so that the parent’s medical history and the child’s prenatal course can be obtained. For additional information on Safe Surrender please contact the ALS Coordinator in the Orange County Emergency Medical Services office