STRATFORD, Conn. — Stratford EMS has been designated as a Safe Place for youth and teens, which means any EMS member can offer help immediately to any youth in trouble.
Teens and youth will be able tell the EMS location is a "Safe Places" by the yellow and black Safe Place sign on the front of the building.
“It is important for our community’s youth to know that there are sites throughout the town that are designated as Safe Place locations, making help readily available to our youth," said Michael Loiz, Stratford EMS director. "Stratford EMS is committed to the health and safety of all residents in Stratford. It just makes sense that we would become involved as a Safe Place site partner.”
It is estimated more than 1 million youths run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts and other issues. The Safe Place program is an option for young people who feel they have nowhere to go.
Stratford EMS’s Safe Place initiative, is part of a national network of Safe Place programs in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 20,000 community businesses and organizations nationwide display the Safe Place sign.
“If a young person needs immediate help, they can depend on any location with the Safe Place sign," Loiz said. "When a young person enters Stratford EMS looking for help, we will keep them safe and get them the help they need through the local licensed Safe Place agency – Janus Center for Youth. Stratford EMS has experience and training in dealing with youth through our Explorer Post and other youth programs. We’re proud to now offer this service to our community.”
In addition to Safe Place sites, youth also may receive immediate help via TXT 4 HELP, a text-for-support service for youth in crisis. Teens can text the word “safe” and their current location (address, city, state) to 69866 and receive a message with the closest Safe Place location and the number for the local youth shelter. Users also have the option to text interactively with a mental health professional for more help.