Stratford Police, Fire, EMS Raise Spirits With Pop-Up Parades

STRATFORD, CT — To help raise residents’ spirits during the “Stay Safe, Stay Home” executive order, the Stratford fire, police and emergency medical service departments have teamed up to form vehicle parades around town.

“The Police Department, Fire Department and EMS are invested in our community through good times and bad,” Police Chief Joseph McNeil said in a town news release. “Our mission is to alleviate some frustration and bring some joy to our residents.”

The parades, with lights shining, sirens sounding and hands waving, are drawing residents out of their homes to help the community remain connected, despite the new coronavirus outbreak.

“With everyone on edge and confined to their homes during this pandemic, the Stratford Fire, Police and EMS Departments found that we can bring a smile and some happiness to those that are feeling the need,” Fire Chief Brian Lampart said in the news release. “This is simply a community enrichment activity that provides the firefighters, police officers and EMS with some stress-free activities and shows our neighbors that we care.”

The EMS department has been busy responding to virus-related calls and therefore unable to join all of the parades.

“Whenever we can participate, we do, and when we’re not there we’re with them in spirit,” EMS Director Michael Loiz said in the news release.

As of Thursday, there were 547 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in town and 45 Stratford residents had died after contracting the virus, according to data provided by the town.

“The isolation felt by our residents during this time can be difficult,” Mayor Laura Hoydick said in the news release. “These pop-up parades are a great way to show children and families that we may be separated, but we are in this together. They are also a great opportunity for our great public safety personnel to put smiles on faces, including their own. I thank all of them for what they are doing on the front lines, and working to raise spirits all around town.”

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The idea for the parades stemmed from a resident who requested a visit for a child’s birthday and then posted the parading public safety officials on social media, leading to more requests. A tentative schedule of neighborhood parades is being developed for the next few weeks, and first responders hope to visit all areas of town over time.

“We want to see everybody,” said Erin McLaughlin, who heads up community outreach for Stratford police, in the news release.

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