Until May 31, Sooke Fire Rescue is taking requests for residents under 12 or over 75 to have a “drive-by birthday.” (Contributed photo)

Sooke firefighters ignites ‘drive-by birthdays’ for youth and seniors

Birthday initiative gives residents in isolation an opportunity to celebrate their big day

Sooke Fire Rescue has sparked up an initiative to help youth and seniors celebrate their birthdays during isolation.

Until May 31, firefighters are taking requests for residents under 12 or over 75 to have a “drive-by birthday.”

Firefighter Ben Temple said the department wanted to help brighten people’s days during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lots of people in the community are more homebound than usual, in particular kids, who birthday’s are really important for,” said Temple. “We want to help them celebrate when they are not able to have traditional parties and celebrate with their friends.”

Sooke residents who apply to have a drive-by celebration can expect a fire truck to come by with lights and sirens, and can get an “appropriately socially distanced” photo with the truck.

“A few times the RCMP and bylaw officers have joined in as well, so its a little different every day. But all the participation keeps things enthusiastic,” Temple said.

ALSO READ: Precaution the watchword for Sooke Fire Rescue amid COVID-19 outbreak

So far 65 requests have been submitted, and Temple said the department has completed around 20.

When people send in a request, the department then will reach out and coordinate a good time to drive by.

They intend to help all submissions celebrate, so long as they are available to do so. Currently SFR has limited the amount of staff who can be in the station at once in order to adhere to social distancing practices.

“We are hoping to bring a bit of fun and brightness to people these days, and it’s important for our team to be active within the community, especially in challenging times, it’s something small we can do to provide a little excitement,” said Temple.

To put in a request for a drive-by birthday, please go online to the District of Sooke website, at www.sooke.ca.

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