HACKENSACK, N.J. -- It was the sirens heard round the world.

Last night, as the sun set over Hackensack, the shrills and flashing lights from more than a dozen emergency vehicles which included police, fire, and ambulances that lined Prospect Avenue and outside Hackensack University Medical Center reverberated for all the health care workers to hear. 

The cacophonous display was the Hackensack Police and Fire Department’s version of the citywide clap that city residents mobilized in last week during which they clapped from their front door steps to show their support for all the health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Only this time, first responders made more noise. 

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"It's great to see such a positive event in these difficult times,” Hackensack Police Detective Captain Darrin DeWitt said. “The residents and businesses have been very supportive of Hackensack's First Responders and have been doing their part by following the guidelines.”

To date, over 260 Bergen County residents have died from the virus, among the more than 7,530 cases. During a press conference last week, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco said the county’s six area hospitals are currently “filled to capacity” with COVID-19-positive patients.   

Donning protective masks and observing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s six-feet rule for social distancing, first responders held up two thumbs and clapped while residents cheered from their balconies and front porches for the overburdened hospital employees who are working tirelessly every day to treat and save lives.  

“They've also been donating needed supplies and providing words of encouragement,” noted DeWitt.

Late last month, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco called for the donation of personal protective equipment including respirator/surgical masks, medical face goggles, protective medical gowns and latex gloves to the drive-thru site at the Bergen County Annex Building, 220 East Ridgewood Avenue, in Paramus, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., given the shortage experienced in local hospitals as the number of infected individuals continue to climb.

Amidst these arduous times, the police and fire department came to their rescue in a sense last night to show health care workers their support, and made sure they heard it.  

“We appreciate them, and we will continue to be there for our community,” said DeWitt.