MISSOULA – 2017 has really been the year to say “thanks” to all our firefighters.
But this year it was the firefighters turn to say thanks to the community, as the welcome sign went up at Missoula Fire Department Station 2 for a Homecoming Saturday Pancake Breakfast.
“Just an opportunity to open the doors for people to come in and see their neighborhood fire department and let the kids come in and take a look at the building and the apparatus that are here. You know, really just a chance to interact with our firefighters and see the men and women of the fire service serving our community,” said MFD Assistant Chief of Operations Jeff Brandt.
And the smiles were everywhere, as little firefighters got a chance to clamber around the engines and imagine they were in full-scale response to that three-alarm fire across town.
But this event is about a lot more than pretending and posing for pictures. The firefighters know this interaction can be critical when there’s a real emergency. That today’s service builds an important trust.
“It’s great to have them in here and kind of give a little fire safety talk as well,” Brandt said. “But the opportunity to have the kids interact with the firemen so they’re not scared when we show up on scene to help.”
So as the pancakes flipped, the sausages simmered, and the eggs were piled high, the firefighters and they people they protect become closer, more supportive and developing the relationships so important to both sides of the fire service.
It doesn’t hurt that they’re really good cooks too.
“Now firehouse cooking is always famous. How’s the cuisine in there? Have these guys been practicing or how did they do?”
“Yeah, they’ve been going strong since about seven this morning and cooking up pancakes and eggs and everything and just a great opportunity. A great event.”
And they did do a great job. Unlike Saturday morning breakfast at my house, I didn’t hear the smoke alarm go off once.