By Brian Livingston / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Those wishing to start their Saturday with a hot breakfast need look no further than the Northeast Lauderdale Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.
From 6-11 a.m., firefighters will be serving up pancakes and sausages at the department located at 396 Briarwood Road during their first of two fundraisers. Fire Chief Mike Marlow said in years past people have shown strong support for the department. He hopes that trend continues Saturday.
"We rely on these fundraisers to offset our expenses to operate," Marlow said. "Our operations include the fire service to scores of homes in our coverage area so to have the residents we serve realize our importance and to support us the way they do, we appreciate it a great deal."
In addition to hot pancakes and sausages, those who attend will also get a drink. Those who eat are asked to give a donation to the department.
"We don't ask for any specific amount because we just want the residents to support us any way they can," Marlow said.
Volunteer fire departments provide their own gear. A full set of turnout gear a firefighter must wear to protect themselves runs in the neighborhood of $3,000 and the air tank can cost another $6,000.
Marlow said much of the money raised is used for fire prevention education, such as the prevention safety classes for elementary school aged children at Northeast Lauderdale Elementary conducted by the fire department each year.
"Mississippi ranks each year among the highest in the nation when it comes to the number of children who die in fires," Marlow said. "We took it upon ourselves to better educate the children on the basics so that we can do our part to limit the young lives lost."
Marlow said some of the funds will go to the program materials such as instruction booklets to help get the lessons of solid fire prevention practices across to the children.