A whole lot more than food is in store for visitors to the 40th annual Bartlett Fire Department Pancake Breakfast,which will be held from 7-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Bartlett Station Municipal Center, 5868 Stage Road behind the Bartlett Library.
Put on by Bartlett Reserve Firefighters, the event has several missions, one being to raise funds for the Dream Factory, for food baskets to be distributed around Christmas, and to feed patient families at the Ronald McDonald House in Memphis every year.
But it’s also a way for firefighters and other first responders to meet children and their families in a non-emergency environment, let them see and feel the equipment, and to pass along important safety information that can help families stay safe.
Don Werling, a 40-year reserve firefighter/driver, said children are often leery or even afraid of firefighters in their big yellow suits and helmets. This event helps take that fear away because they can see and talk to them in a situation that’s not an emergency, as emergencies usually mean someone is hurt or a home is on fire.
The event converges with Fire Prevention Week.
“It’s all a meet-and-greet for the firemen,” Werling said. “It’s like a big open house for the fire department.”
In addition to getting a good breakfast of pancakes and sausage – all you can eat – kids are also going to have some fun.
There will be junior firefighter suits and helmets young kids can put on, and participate in an agility test with their gear on. Kids will get helmets they can take home, as well as coloring books and other cool stuff.
There will be new and old fire trucks they will be able to sit in, including an antique, 1929 pumper truck that has wooden wheel spokes and “all the bells and whistles,” Werling said.
Police officers, Shelby County Rescue officers and rescue dogs, St. Francis Hospital personnel and other law enforcement visitors also will be on hand.
And weather permitting, the Hospital Wing helicopter will do a flyover around 9 or 9:30 a.m. and land on the parking lot of the municipal center. Kids will be able to get inside in the helicopter and look around.
The fire department also will be giving away in-home COVID tests for adults to take home as supplies last.
The fire department’s pancake breakfast has not been held the past two years due to the pandemic. It is rumored that some local politicians running for office in the Nov. 8 election may be helping serve breakfast.
Tickets for the annual breakfast are $6 for adults and $3 for children.