KC Chief Worried About Safe Haven

Kansas City's fire chief said he's concerned about a new public awareness program known as Safe Haven.

The public service announcement for Safe Haven will be hitting the airwaves soon, showing places a parent can leave a newborn child if they can't care for it. Signs went up this week at Leawood Firehouse No. 3 at 148th Street and Mission Road, telling the public that babies can only be left with staff.

"If it saves a life, it's a positive thing," said Leawood Chief Ben Florence.

Florence has been an advocate for the program that shows parents where babies can be left. He said it's a topic people don't talk about before it's too late.

"They can't fathom taking care of a child," he said. "We hear that on the news all the time. When those incidents occur, we don't' hear about the alternative."

But across the state line it's a different story. The signs won't be going up in Kansas City at all places covered by the law.

"It's not designed to put a child in a basket and ring the bell and leave," said Kansas City Councilman John Sharp.

Sharp supports the program, which was debated at City Hall on Thursday, to have city emergency personnel actively join the metro-wide campaign. But he also supports the fire department's decision not to post newborn Safe Haven signs at firehouses.

"I think it's a good idea not to encourage people to leave their newborn babies at firehouses that may not have anyone there," he said. "It may be hours before they get back."

Kansas City Fire Chief Smokey Dyer told KCTV5's Eric Chaloux that placing signs at fire stations concerned him. He promised to send an ambulance to anywhere in the city to comply with the state law if a parent turns over their child.

The people who run the Safe Haven program said Kansas City's fire department is the only one in the metro not joining the campaign.

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