On Thursday, Oakland’s fire and police departments organized a “flash mob” parade that saw East Bay first responders salute health care providers at five local hospitals with a noisy, upbeat convoy.
The event, which was heard if not seen by many locals — not least as many of the emergency vehicles in the convoy deployed their sirens — started at Highland Hospital around noon, and took in Kaiser Permanente, Summit and UCSF Benioff Children’s in Oakland, as well as Alta Bates in Berkeley.
“The event allowed first responders from throughout the East Bay to acknowledge the amazing work the doctors, nurses, administrative staff, custodial staff and more have been doing over the past two months battling COVID-19,” Berkeley Fire Department Assistant Chief Keith May told Berkeleyside.
Berkeley PD was proud to salute healthcare workers today with some of our neighboring agencies @oaklandpoliceca @UCPD_Cal @BerkeleyFD and BART PD. 💙❤️#ThankYouNurses #HealthcareHeroes #healthcareworkers #NationalNursesWeek2020 @berkeleyside #FirstRespondersStrong pic.twitter.com/KTekcFYy11— Berkeley Police (@berkeleypolice) May 8, 2020
All five hospitals were excited to have the acknowledgment from their public safety partners, according to May, who said they hoped it would offer a morale boost for staff. And May added that the timing was fortuitous as it happens to be National Nurses Week (National Nurses Day was Wednesday).
The first responder caravan, which was slated to involve over 80 vehicles, included antique and specialty vehicles such as parade rigs, low riders and vintage police cars, as well as motorcycles and helicopters. (Videos by Pete Rosos.)