Dagsboro VFD launches ride-by offer for kids’ birthday celebrations

DAGSBORO — In the stay-at-home, cooped-up world of COVID-19, Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department wants to bring special joy to children’s birthday celebrations.

Dagsboro Station 73 Tuesday evening via its Facebook page launched its offer of a ride-by of fire apparatus as the department’s special gift to kids who reside in the Dagsboro fire district and are celebrating birthdays.

“Now, they can’t have that big special day with all the family members around. So why not have a fire truck ride by their house, just special for them?” said Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department spokesman Jason McCabe. “Maybe that will be something that will be a memory keen in their minds that they refer to years down the road. And if nothing else, it brings a smile to a child’s face and kind of lightens their mood and hopefully their parents as well. Because we all are probably getting a little short on patience with a house full of kids and nowhere to go. Like everybody else, we’re getting cabin fever.”

“It would be a shame for a young kid to miss out on something special for their birthday,” Mr. McCabe added.

Unintentionally, Dagsboro’s offer sparked interest that has spread to other neighboring fire departments. Besides Dagsboro, initial response included requests from families who technically reside in Georgetown, Millsboro, Millville and Frankford districts.

“I know of several departments around that have received the contact information. We have talked with the other departments and pushed the folks that were in their districts to those department contacts. They are picking it up and running with it on their end,” said Mr. McCabe. “It’s kind of growing.”

Mr. McCabe noted there can be confusion because fire districts and postal zone boundaries are not the same.

“You know how Sussex County works. Frankford’s mailing address runs all the way to Gumboro. Gumboro is not in Frankford’s fire district. The same way with Dagsboro. A large contingent of Millville’s Fire Department is Dagsboro postal address,” said Mr. McCabe. “Folks outside the fire service obviously don’t know how fire districts are laid out. That’s really no fault of their own. So we had to kind of narrow things to Dagsboro. We’re trying to take care of folks in our own district first.”

Scheduled ride-byes will depend on apparatus and staff availability.

“Work schedules are kind of crazy right now. It may be something as simple as one truck. It may be the whole fire department,” said Mr. McCabe. “Just like everybody else, with social distancing and limitations of congregations, we don’t have as many people staffing the phones at the fire house, so to speak. We are trying to protect ourselves as well as we encourage everyone out in Sussex County to do the same.”

The best way to reach the DVFD with a birthday ride-by request is via Facebook.

“Facebook messenger works great,” said Mr. McCabe. “We’re not sure how long we will do it. We were tickled to see the interest being wide-ranging and we enjoyed the opportunity to reach out to the other departments to get them on the same page as well. We’re hopeful that it turns out to be a good success. I think it will be.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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