Mark Kite (1978), Deaf Fire Chief

Posted by WPSDAA on Mar 30, 2019 in News

Mark Kite, WPSD Class of 1978 is interviewed Can Deaf people become a firefighters? How about a Fire Chief! 🔥🚒💨

TRANSCRIPT: OPENING TEXT:
MARK KITE: (with TEXT: Mark Kite, Sr. from Yukon, PA)
I’ve been a firefighter since I was 16 years old. I am now a fire chief and have been since 2009.
[MONTAGE]
FIRE CHIEF FOR YUKON VALLEY FIRE COMPANY 
TEXT:
SHARE CHALLENGES IN BECOMING A DEAF FIRE CHIEF?
MARK KITE:
The residents of my hometown elected me as the fire chief. I have had a few instances of being prejudiced by hearing people. One instance was the fact that I can’t communicate through the dispatch radio. I told them I would overcome this challenge by assigning assistants to take that responsibility. I supervise them and we rely on each other and adapt to each situation.
TEXT:
DO YOU SLEEP AT THE FIREHOUSE?
MARK KITE:
We are a volunteer fire department. Members of the department stay at home and come here when they receive a fire alarm. It’s different in the city where firefighters do sleep in their firehouses. 
TEXT:
SHARE SOME OF YOUR FIRE SAFETY TIPS
MARK KITE:
You should check all the smoke detectors in your home frequently. Many people get hurt or killed because of faulty smoke detectors.
TEXT:
WHAT ARE COMMON MISTAKES THAT CAUSE FIRES?
MARK KITE:
When it comes to kitchen fires or grease fires, many people don’t know that dumping water on a grease fire will make it worse. Do not do that. Cover the fire if possible with a pot or cooking pan or leave the house. 
TEXT: 
CALL 911 EMERGENCY
Another thing to consider: electrical fires. People who aren’t aware will use many electrical outlets. It could also be bad or old wiring. These things can cause fires.
TEXT:
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO BE A FIREFIGHTER?
MARK KITE:
I come from a family of firefighters. I like to serve the community, am proud to do this and of doing what I can to keep us all safe.
TEXT:
WHAT CAN’T YOU DO?
MARK KITE:
I cannot enter burning buildings with gear because I can’t communicate with my fellow firefighters through the prep radio. I do other duties like outdoor fire service, rescues, CPRs and more. 
TEXT:
SHOULD MORE DEAF PEOPLE BECOME FIREFIGHTERS?
MARK KITE:
Deaf can do it! You do need to have training and take classes. You need to be willing to work in a team. It is possible for you to work for a volunteer fire department, for sure.
TEXT:
HOW CAN I SUPPORT LOCAL VOLUNTEER FIRE HOUSES?
MARK KITE:
We don’t get paid. We work, sell things, and fundraise money. We also apply for state and FEMA grants to help pay for equipment donations. It’s tough and there’s a lot of volunteer time to make money. It’s very important to support your hometown firefighting volunteer organizations. Please support, please donate.
TEXT:
SHARE A SCARY MEMORY
MARK KITE:
There was a car accident that burst into flames and the driver was trapped inside. We immediately rushed to the scene. When we got there, there were other guys trying to put out the fire with water. I saw the trapped driver waving at me. I grabbed ahold and dragged the guy out. I got burns on my forearms. About a month or two later, that guy came up to me and thanked me for saving his life.

Thanks to DPAN.TV for the video and the transcript.

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