First in Country to Bring Safe Place Designation to Ambulances Through Partnership with Youth Services of Tulsa
TULSA, Okla. (September 21, 2011) — Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) is the first ambulance provider in the country to designate its ambulances as official Safe Places with the National Safe Place program. The program is a partnership with Youth Services of Tulsa (YST) and the National Safe Place Program. Each of EMSA’s 45 eastern division ambulances are now designated as official Safe Place sites. The eastern division encompasses Tulsa, Bixby, Jenks and Sand Springs.
“EMSA is the first ambulance provider to designate ambulances as Safe Places,” said Kelli Bruer, Director of Communications and Public Relations for EMSA. “Our units are highly visible throughout the community and easily accessible. This makes it easier for youth to get access to what they need.”
Last year, YST’s Safe Place volunteers responded to calls from 237 youth in the Tulsa area that needed help. The program consists of EMSA ambulance crews being trained as Safe Place volunteers and, when approached by youth requesting a Safe Place, transporting the youth to the local shelter.
“Unfortunately, many teens don’t know where to go when they are in crisis. This is an innovative way to put more ‘doors’ out there in the community for young people in crisis to access our services,” said James M. Walker, Executive Director of YST.
Safe Place was created as a community collaboration that provides easy access for young people in dangerous, threatening or vulnerable situations. There are close to 18,000 designated businesses and community buildings displaying the distinctive yellow Safe Place signs nationwide with more than 130,000 youth connected to health and safety. In the Tulsa area, 160 Safe Places (108 stationary sites and 52 mobile sites) are accessible to youth, including all QuikTrips and fire departments in Tulsa County as well as all Tulsa Transit buses. EMSA’s participation will increase mobile Safe Place sites with 45 ambulances.
“We think it’s a great fit for both of our organizations and we hope others will follow our lead,” Bruer said.