Thursday, April 15, 2010


Not my story, but a good one none the less. This happened to a friend of mine, it was the first of several surrenders that have occurred at the K.B.F.P.D. Some creative liberties were taken to protect the innocent and the guilty.


Panch pulled onto the back ramp, parked his truck, gathered his stuff and went inside. He was not surprised to find the station empty, El Rio was a busy place. Panch liked El Rio. It provided a lot of action, plus they always had a boot and the challenge of training new people appealed to him. The busy nights were a drawback, but it was eased by having a good crew. Besides, he reasoned, you can always sleep when you're dead.

Panch made his way through the silent station and into the kitchen, The Bunn-O-Matic was empty and dark. Wherever the engine was, they had left before anyone had been up. Panch made a pot before moving into the office and checking the computer.

The unit status function showed that the engine was on a medical aid call that had required follow-up to the hospital. It looked like they would be tied up for a while. He also checked the training schedule to see what the plan was for the day. It looked like nothing to important was going on.

As Panch returned to the kitchen, he heard the back door open and the sound of someone lugging a duffel bag across the tile floor and into the locker room. The solitude of being the only person in the usually noisy station was broken. As the other crew members showed up for work, the activity level would surely increase.

They met at the kitchen table, Panch with a full cup of hot coffee, Steve with the paper. They chatted about the game and the odds of the Cowboys making the playoffs. Panch was used to taking shots over his loyalty to "America's Team", it made him an easy target. He had just taken his third hit when the station doorbell rang.

As Panch was closest to the doorway, he jumped up and blocked it, forcing Steve to trail behind Panch as they walked into the office. Panch opened the door and was surprised to not see anyone standing there. He looked up and saw a woman standing next to the passenger side door of a pick-up truck stopped on the street. He started to walk toward her, but sensed something at his feet.

He looked down and noticed a well-used blanket, bundled up and placed right in front of the doorway. Still not comprehending, he looked up again and saw the woman wave at him, get in the pick-up and close the door. He was still staring as the truck drove off.

Bewildered, Panch looked down again and saw the blanket move.

Hoping it was an injured animal, Panch peeled back part of the blanket and saw the head of a newborn infant. Finally comprehending what was going on, Panch looked up at Steve, then scooped up the blanket and moved inside.

Steve was shocked. He was mentally and psychologically unprepared to deal with this so early in the day. He hadn't had a cup of coffee yet and mentally he was still off duty. He struggled to remember where the Safe Surrender packet was filed and tried to remember the procedure that was supposed to be followed. He failed at both, so he just called dispatch and requested that an engine, an ambulance and the P.D. respond.

Steve and Panch looked at the newborn girl, laying on the blanket. She appeared to have decent color and was moving pretty well, her umbilical cord was still attached. As the engine was not in quarters, they had no equipment. All they could do was keep her warm and continue to assess her. As Steve and Panch assessed the baby, both mentioned how lucky this little girl was that they always came in to work early. Steve couldn't help but think of his own young sons and how they had come into the world. Baby's can't choose how they are born, he mused.

After a short time, Engine 219 arrived and took charge of the baby girl. It turned out that she was in good shape. Panch remembered where the safe surrender packet was filed and began filling out the forms while the guys from #219 placed the ID bracelet on the baby's tiny ankle.

The mother's bracelet remained unused.


The ambulance arrived shortly thereafter and soon the infant was en-route to the hospital, the system and hopefully, someday, a good home. The District's PIO was notified and soon the local paper had a reporter and a photographer at the hospital. Panch and Steve were sent down to talk with them and pose for pictures.

The event made the front page of that community's paper in the next edition, helping to get the word out about the "Safe Surrender" program. As the district is "Kinda Big", we have had several surrenders in various communities that we protect. I haven't had it happen to me, the odds are I won't.

It is much better to find a live baby on the front step of the "Healing Place", rather than a dead one in the dumpster behind K-Mart. "Safe Surrender" save lives.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Dear Captain Schmoe,
    In an imperfect world, programs like this do make the difference. They do a little to make things right.

    I am moved to tears as I think of how little we know about what our first responders do for us. I believe they keep us human in a way we barely understand.

    Ann T.

  2. We have the same program down here and it has worked. But not as much as it should. It still amazes me that women dont use it. Far more newborns are found in dumpsters and canals than on the doorstep of the firehouses. It boggles the mind.

  3. Once the birth is over and you have held that life in your arms, how could anyone just leave it on the steps of anywhere? I am glad though that the heartless mother placed that precious package in the path of a few hero's! Carry on Capt and friends! Our world needs you desperately!