DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The City of Dothan has approved safe haven baby boxes to be placed at fire stations in Dothan.
Fire departments and EMS services were among other healthcare groups to push the Alabama Legislature to pass a bill in June of this year allowing parents to surrender their infant securely and anonymously at fire stations.
Another resource that just went into effect last month other than dropping them off at hospitals only.
“We started looking at other models around the country after children were left in undesirable areas which we had one in our city recently and of course, the child didn’t make it, so we started looking at Georgia and Florida and other areas around,” Chief Larry Williams said.
Chief Williams recounted an incident that happened in August.
Jakayla Williams is facing one count of capital murder after being accused of putting her newborn baby in an apartment complex dumpster with a trash compactor, where the baby died.
Now, after working with the north Alabama-based nonprofit organization Kids To Love, the city and fire department have received a grant totaling $18,000 to offer a safe way to drop off a newborn baby by installing a safe haven baby box at fire station number one, station 10 that’s being built now on Main Street, and station 3 that has been relocated to Whatley drive.
“The good thing about the box is it’s set up with an alarm with air conditioning and heating, so that if someone did place the child in there it would alarm through the communications center and we would get dispatch to our closest engine there,” He said. “It’s going to be good for Dothan to have but I hope we never have to use it in the future.”
Chief Williams and Mayor Saliba say bringing a safe haven baby box to the city had no bearing on the recent incident but it has been in the plans for at least five years.
The first box will be installed at station one in the next few months and for the other two stations, the boxes will be there when they open in the late summer of next year.