What Makes For A Place Safe?

HOUSTON, Miss. (WCBI) – This is National Safe Place Week.

Its goal is to raise awareness about Safe Places and its benefit.

“When a teenager walks in and identifies themselves as needing a safe place, we offer them a place to be comfortable,” said Houston Fire Chief Johnathan Blankenship.

Any teen in Chickasaw County under the age of 18 now has a new Safe Place to go.

“We were approached by the coordinator of the program, wondering if we would be interested. She went through the requirements that would be of us. I basically carried it to our Mayor and board of alderman who approved it,” said Blankenship.

The Houston Fire Department is the approved location, but Blankenship says certain requirements had to be met first.

“They were looking for somewhere that operates 24 hours. They will set up a safe place in other places, if need be, but the fire station being 24 hours was really attractive to them,” said Blankenship.

Firefighters had to be trained on handling a kid in need.

“It’s about 15 or 20 minutes of just me talking and informing them that if a child comes in they don’t have to ask questions. They just pick up the phone and call and say hey we have a child here they do give a little description so that we do know who we’re coming for and we can talk to the child over the phone. Basically the site is just a holding place until we get there,” said Sally Kate Winters Community educator Ashton Woodson.

There are 33 Safe Place locations throughout the Golden Triangle. There are two in Chickasaw County, including one Okolona Fire and Rescue.

Chickasaw Ema Director Linda Griffin says the locations must be well known.

“Because there’s so many people now days that don’t want to get involved they say. This is not a lot of involvement on our part, having the safe place here but having a place they can come to and we can put them in contact with the subject matter expert, whatever service they need,” said Griffin.

During National Safe Place Week, Woodson says she will be for helping students understand they are safe in a Safe Place.

“We go into the schools educate the students on where the safe place sites are. let them Know that we are here to help. Let them know that we aren’t here to take them from their family they just have to come back and answer some questions just to make sure they are safe to go home or they are safe to call a parent,” said Woodson.

If you are in need of a Safe Place you are encouraged to text the word safe and you’re current location to for help or 44357 to find the one closest to you.

Categories: Local News

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