Why some fire departments say they can no longer do parades

Posted at 6:49 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 18:53:23-04

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — Parades have become our new way to celebrate. From retirements, to birthdays to homecomings. Usually, police officers and firefighters on the guest list. But fire departments are saying they may do more harm than good.

"It's great to do it, but at times, if you get more than 4 or 5 people in an apparatus you don't have that distancing and then again if something happens, then we don't have first responders to be able to answer the calls," said Edward Tase, member of the South Lockport Fire, Co.

Tase is also the 2nd Vice President of the Firemen's association of New York State. He says he's heard of several departments pulling out of parade celebrations across the state due to safety concerns. Including his own South Lockport Fire, Co.

"We congratulate the graduates, we congratulate the children on their birthdays. But again, we want to be safe, we want them to be safe and we want to be able to continue with a very healthy and strong future."

The Williamsville Fire Department also announced they are no longer participating in these events. Tase says it becomes dangerous when cars line up in front of and behind fire trucks, leaving them unable to exit if a call occurs.

This is a decision each individual fire department can make, per Tase. In Niagara County, a guidance was sent to each municipality warning about the risks.

"The letter did not advise that these events cannot happen. But going to a private drive-by is not a risk the municipal cooperative can bear," said Jennifer Pitaressi, the Niagara County Director of Risk Management and MuSIP Plan Administrator.

The letter warns that these parades are not covered by county insurance, so if anyone were to be hurt or get sick, it would be the town or fire department's liability.

This doesn't mean you can't have a parade on your own. It just may be without any lights or sirens.