Scarsdale Fire Department Provides a Birthday to Remember!

Scarsdale Fire Department helps children celebrate their birthdays in quarantine!

Lou Mancini

Scarsdale Fire Department helps children celebrate their birthdays in quarantine!

A birthday is usually a day of celebration that you look forward to the whole year. During this time of social distancing, however, many of us are unable to celebrate our birthdays by having a party or by visiting friends and family. With nowhere to go, the day that you have been looking forward to all year can become a day of disappointment. Fortunately, the Scarsdale Fire Department has decided to do their part in making quarantine birthdays a lot more festive with their new drive-by birthday program.

“The program started back in late March. One of the Scarsdale volunteers [Steve Kaiden] came up with the idea and asked me to hit up all of the volunteers to propose it to the chief, and he approved it. We implemented it on April 15th,” explained Lou Mancini, Scarsdale Fire Birthday Drive-By Lead. “It’s a short chain, there’s a few fire cars, an engine or two, and two ambulances. There are also some private vehicles from the volunteers. The chain makes up anywhere from 6 to 10 cars, and it’s really quite the sight,” Mancini said. The drive-bys are on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1 to around 4 o’clock, depending on how many stops they have. In a typical week, they have about double the amount of stops on Saturdays compared to Wednesdays. The program, which is scheduled to end May 16th, is directed to kids who are turning 5-12, but it is open to everyone.  

This program is not only fun for the person celebrating their birthday, but can also be a great experience for the whole neighborhood. “We announce the child on the P.A., and it is very exciting. On nice days there are a lot of people out and they are having picnics out on their front lawns while respecting social distancing,” continued Mancini. 

“I learned about the Scarsdale FD birthday program in the Scarsdale Buzz Facebook group. We called the Scarsdale FD right away, and they couldn’t have been nicer! I think Dillon had the very first drive-by of the program,” exclaimed Felicia Soler, a Greenacres mom that recently surprised her son Dillon with a drive-by from the Scarsdale Fire Department.  “Seeing Dillon’s smiling face made us feel so happy!  We really appreciate that the Scarsdale Fire Department helped to make this a unique birthday Dillon will never forget!” said Soler.

The surprise not only makes the recipients of the drive-by happy, but the Fire Department loves doing it as well. “It is very rewarding. The best part about it is the little kids who don ‘having a normal birthday’  smiles on their faces, and the ability to make a difference in their lives on a significant day makes us all happy.” explained Mancini.

“I heard sirens and thought it was a real fire, but then they started to shout ‘Happy Birthday, Dillon’ and I was really surprised,” explained Dillon Soler, an eight-year-old who was recently surprised with a drive-by. Although a drive-by may not be what a child was expecting a few months ago, it is an innovative and fun way to celebrate a child’s birthday while practicing social distancing.