During the March 9 Committee of the Whole meeting, city administration was directed to proceed in planning for the first annual First Responders Day to take place on May 1, to coincide with the beginning of Emergency Management Week
On Dec. 15, City Councillor Ritesh Narayan brought forth a motion to create and implement a First Responders Day.
“This project supports council’s strategic priority for an Amazing Quality of Life by providing communities an opportunity to connect to members of the first responder and community safety team. It also supports the Amazing Neighbourhoods priority by continuing to champion a safe community and make the community safety team more visible,” said the Communications Intern, Hannah Willinger.
To prepare for First Responders Day, the city researched what other municipalities have done in the past to find creative ways in showcasing local first responders.
The city has identified two main goals for First Responders Day such as, making first responders feel appreciated, and increasing awareness for what first responders do.
“In order to make first responders feel appreciated, we will introduce a first annual First Responders Day to the community, in addition to providing an outlet for residents to formally and informally thank first responders,” Willinger said.
“We will increase the awareness for what first responders do by helping residents share their positive experiences with first responders, while also providing content to help educate residents about services associated with first responders,” she said.
The city will increase the awareness of first responders by creating a photo series that showcases the tasks and duties associated with first responder jobs.
Each photo will be accompanied by a short bio, the first responder’s role, how long they have been in that role, and something the public doesn’t know about their job.
The city is encouraging residents to use the hashtag #chestermerefr to share their positive experiences through social media.
Adding, “Due to COVID-19, we can’t encourage residents to drop off personalized thank-you notes, however, we do encourage residents to submit their appreciation in messages to the community safety team using an online forum.”
Residents can also print off colouring pages and a thank-you note to post on their windows for First Responders Day.
“When I came up with this idea, I had certain things in mind, and I think you have done amazing work putting those ideas into words. The entire concept seems absolutely amazing, I like every bit of it,” Narayan said.
“We do appreciate the amazing work being done by our first responders. I feel that individuals see the uniform but not always the person behind it, by having this particular day to appreciate that, it also gives us a chance in the community to acknowledge that they are a person behind that uniform, and they do deal with very challenging situations, situations that we can’t even imagine,” he said.
Adding, “They do amazing work.”