The Silverthorne Pulse The Silverthorne Pulse

Community News from the Heart of Summit County

Silverthorne’s Got Heart: Parade of (flashing) lights

Published May 8, 2020
Summit Fire & EMS Parade

On a typical day, flashing red and blue lights heading toward your home is not exactly a welcomed sight. But during the COVID-19 stay at home order, Summit Fire & EMS has helped roughly 20 Summit County residents celebrate their birthdays with a drive-by parade of fire trucks and ambulances flashing their lights, giving birthday wishes over the PA system, and when possible teaming up with local law enforcement vehicles for an even flashier show.

“A lot of people deal with us on their worst day ever,” said Steve Lipsher, Community Resource Officer for Summit Fire & EMS. “So it’s great when we can be part of a happy occasion.”

Part of a trend that has swept the nation in recent weeks, birthday parade parties have brought Silverthorne families, friends and neighbors together in a whole new way.

“It’s been endearing to see the response from the five and six year olds of course, but from the older kids as well,” said Lipsher. “We’ve witnessed full-on social distancing birthday parties in front yards and we’ve also seen neighbors two doors down who were unaware of what was happening come outside and wave to us. The whole community has really gotten behind it.” 

To request a parade party, residents can call Summit Fire & EMS.  As long as they are not responding to a call, they’ll do their best to show up. At this time there is no age cut off, but that may change as demand increases.

“We like a little advance warning,” Lipsher added, “but we’re a fire department, so we’re also used to short notice.” 

The start of the tradition was that simple. A resident made a request for their child, and Summit Fire & EMS answered the call. Summit Fire & EMS has always done their best to accommodate public requests, like a school tour of the station, for example, and Lipsher said they want to continue to do things that make people feel welcome. 

Summit Fire & EMS comprises about 60 firefighters and 30 medics who work 48-hour shifts responding to fire, medical and other emergencies from four different stations covering the 

the Northern half of Summit County including Frisco, Silverthorne, Dillon, Frisco and Keystone.

With fewer people, including visitors and second home owners, in town, emergency calls have been down overall during the pandemic. When they do go on calls, responders wear full personal protective gear (PPE) and are taking extra precautions to reduce the risk of infection.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, said Lipsher. “This virus is just as deadly now as it was three weeks ago, and just as contagious. Our community has been disciplined about distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing, and we ask that you continue to do so.”

If you or someone you know has a birthday approaching, consider a call to Summit Fire & EMS at (970) 262-5100. Now more than ever, we could all use a little fanfare and reason to celebrate.