Cedar Falls Public Safety will be extending their community birthday celebration program until June 15, 2020.
The program invites local families with young children under the age of 12 to contact Public Safety if their child is celebrating a birthday. Public Safety Officers then drive past the child’s home in a fire truck and a police cruiser.
“This idea began as a way to continue to connect safely with local residents during the COVID-19 emergency,” said Cedar Falls Public Safety Lieutenant Shea McNamara. “As our community experienced the effects of social distancing due to the virus, particularly with schools being closed, students weren’t able to celebrate their birthdays in the traditional way. However, this has really helped bring that excitement and joy to area families. We look forward to keeping that going.”
Since the program began in April, the Public Safety Department has received numerous requests for birthday drive-by visits and residents have shared videos and photos of the events with the department.
“It has been great seeing how the community has responded,” said Fire Chief John Bostwick. “It has really been a way to not only celebrate birthdays but bring people together in the neighborhoods, even as we are physically apart. We will do a birthday visit and see other neighbors in their own yards with signs also wishing the students happy birthday which just makes it even more fun for the kids.”
To request a drive by birthday party, contact Cedar Falls Public Safety on Facebook through Messenger @cedarfallspublicsafety. Please include the date of the birthday in the message and a phone number. Public Safety asks that the day requested for the drive by birthday be within five days of the child’s actual birthday. Scheduling is contingent on emergency calls, work, and training.
The Public Safety team does remind residents of the importance of social distancing during the drive-by celebrations. All Public Safety personnel does practice social distancing during the rides by remaining in the vehicles and encouraging all individuals who may be watching to continue to follow CDC guidelines by putting six feet between them and their neighbors.