Knoxville Fire Dept. 'thrilled' about recent find

Knoxville Fire Dept. 'thrilled' about recent find

Knoxville Fire Dept. 'thrilled' about recent find

Some firefighters in Tennessee say they got the thrill of a lifetime last Saturday.

In February, the city of Knoxville formally dedicated a Safe Haven Baby Box at Fire Station 17, offering a safe place for parents in crisis to anonymously and legally surrender a child.

As AFN recently reported, the climate-controlled boxes are installed on the outside wall of a hospital or fire department and are accessible from inside and outside the building. A silent alarm is activated when the outside door is opened to alert those inside, and a second alarm is triggered when a child is laid into the medical-grade basinet inside the box.

Last weekend, an alarm sounded from Knoxville's for the first time, and two minutes later, three crew members retrieved the child that had been left inside.

Assistant Fire Chief Mark Wilbanks says the Knoxville Fire Department is grateful to have been able to help the 30-minute-old baby boy and his parents.

Wilbanks, Mark (KFD) Wilbanks

"The child was very clearly newly born, and the crew immediately took the baby from the box, began kind of drying the baby off, making sure the baby was warm, checking it for any medical conditions, making sure that it, in fact, was healthy," Wilbanks accounts.

The baby was then taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where his healthy condition was confirmed.

"The whole purpose of the baby box is simply this: It's a place for a mother or a parent to turn to when they're in crisis and they don't know what to do," the fire chief explains. "[We] were thrilled that the mother chose safety and security for their child."

Safe haven laws are on the books in all 50 states, allowing parents to surrender their infant at a fire station, hospital, or police station without repercussions. The aim is to provide a safe option for babies whose parents might otherwise feel desperate and like they have no other choice but to illegally leave their newborn somewhere to die.

In addition to providing a safe place for children, the boxes also provide information and resource packets for the parents.