UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Social distancing is necessary during the coronavirus pandemic, but it can be tough on children, especially when it comes to celebrating birthdays.
That’s why firefighters in New Jersey are rolling out firetruck birthdays, complete with lights and sirens.
- State-By-State, County-By-County Resources
- Distance Learning Tools for Teachers & Parents
- Ask Dr. Max Your Questions
- Tips For Avoiding Psychological Isolation
- Talking To Kids About Anxiety
- How To Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer
- Complete Coronavirus Coverage
- CDC Latest Updates
The blaring sounds of sirens and sights of firetrucks have been filling the town of Upper Saddle River of late, but there is no cause for concern.
The mission is one of compassion and kindness for kids like Alex Young and his mom, Brooke.
“It was loud, noisy and amazing,” Alex told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport.
On his 8th birthday, Alex got the surprise of his life.
Firefighters from the Upper Saddle River Volunteer Fire Department rolling up to his house unannounced to give him a surprise drive-by birthday celebration.
Because of the coronavirus, Alex, like most kids, has been stuck at home social distancing.
He never expected the magical moment.
“Because I never, ever had any firetrucks come over and celebrate my birthday party,” Alex said.
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211
It is the brainchild of the all-volunteer Upper Saddle River Fire Department, who know a lot of kids in their town might not have a proper birthday celebration.
So they posted on Facebook offering to do drive-by celebrations for the kids, pulling up in the truck, the sirens screaming, creating a birthday the children will never forget.
“When you see the smile on the kids’ faces, you know, it’s a lot of joy and hope that we’re going to get out of this soon, back to normal,” Fire Chief Brandon Bach said.
He says the department follows strict social distancing policies, driving up to the birthday home, not getting too close, spreading birthday cheer and moving on their way.
The department did five drive-by birthdays on Saturday, including one for 8-year-old Elena Mehegan.
“It was like so happy for me. I felt so happy,” Elena said.
They say they’ve been inundated with request and expect to do 45 in April.
The chief says every kid deserves to feel special on their birthday, and in these troubling times, that’s now more important than ever. They’re proving Upper Saddle River’s bravest are also its kindest.