Red Deer County has found a special way to engage its community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the spring, the county launched a program called Stay Home Superheroes, designed to bring a special celebration to the front doors of everyday residents.
At that time, with Alberta experiencing high COVID-19 case numbers and provincial restrictions, celebrations like birthday parties couldn’t happen in a typical way.
The county decided to do superhero tributes every Saturday, bringing first responders in their vehicles, to the doors of those in the community– treating them like superheroes for staying home.
They made more than 200 visits from April to June, then followed that with another 50 in the fall, as more COVID-19 restrictions were put into place.
If you have a child celebrating a birthday, the #StayHome Superheroes program wants to recognize them with a drive-by visit from our RD County first responders.
— Red Deer County (@RedDeerCounty) January 5, 2021
“When covid first hit and the restrictions came in, a lot of emergency services were doing front liner worker drive-bys. Since everybody was being asked to stay home, we knew people couldn’t get together for birthday parties. That can be a big downer for kids particularly,” said Dave Brand, Red Deer County director Of community services.
Brand said since the county covers more than 4,000 square kilometres, it was necessary for them to set up a program in order to plan their visits.
“People staying home is a superhero effort and it’s tougher and maybe back even more in focus now as we’re back into winter and we’re in the second wave of restrictions– having to stay home and not be able to celebrate the way we normally would,” he said.
He added in addition to bringing a smile to the faces of those in the community, it also helps get the vehicles out of the shop for some routine maintenance.
Some of the more recent celebrations included a drive-by at the hamlets in Gasoline Alley, with emergency vehicles decked out in Christmas lights.
He added that all of the fire and emergency vehicles in the county have “Thanks for being Stay Home Superheroes” stickers and they’ve also been mailing them to the residents that they visit.
Brand said they plan to keep going with the birthday celebrations as long as citizens are still looking forward to it and as the calendar flips, the interest is still there.
“We’re happy to do it, we want to spread a little cheer and it brings a little cheer back to our crews,” he said.
“I think the important thing is to thank everybody for staying home and doing their part.”
To book a visit from the emergency crews in Red Deer County, head to homeheroes.rdcounty.ca/ .