(Saanich Fire/Twitter)

Now that Canadians have been social distancing for over a month, nearly everyone is starting to experience the negative effects of staying away from loved ones.

Kids, in particular, aren’t able to hang out with their friends and socialize like they normally would… and not being able to have a party on your birthday can be doubly isolating.

That’s where the Saanich Fire Department stepped in with a plan that’s been putting a smile on everyone’s faces.

Since last week, firefighters have been driving by the homes of birthday kids, sirens blaring, creating a celebratory moment for the whole neighbourhood.

We’ve received lots of emails and it’s been very well received by the public,” said Lt. Inspector Sean Lillis, in a phone call with Victoria Buzz. “We’re actually going to three birthday parties today!”

According to Lillis, the Deputy Chief of the fire department had the idea to introduce firetruck drive-bys in Saanich after observing departments in the U.S. start the trend.

The idea has been widely popular with the community as firefighters are booked for drive-bys all the way into May.

“It’s been amazing. The kids are super excited; they love it,” says Lillis.

“The whole neighbourhoods come out on the entire street to support the drive by, support first responders, and support the kid(s) whose birthday it is. It’s actually become a way for people in the street to connect with each other while still maintaining the social distancing.”

The department is doing drive-bys for kids’ birthdays aged four to 12 years old, and require at least two business days’ notice to organize it.

Residents who request a drive-by must live in the municipality of Saanich, and should take place before 5 p.m.

“We want to encourage people to do this, as it’s a great program and our firefighters like it too,” said Lillis.

“A lot of the times, the firefighters are connecting with people in an emergency situation so this is a way for them to connect in a more positive way.”

Those who wish to request a birthday drive-by and shoutout can do so by emailing the Saanich Fire Department at fireprevention@saanich.ca.