Saturday, February 7, 2009

Deaf Fire Chief

He may be the first deaf fire chief in the country. Mark Kite has taken over leadership duties at the Yukon Volunteer Fire Department in South Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. That puts him in charge of 75-fire fighters. It’s a family tradition for the Kites. Mark’s grandfather, father, brother and even his son have all served the community in this way.

Mark Kite was born nearly deaf and while he uses a hearing aid today, Kite relies on sign language whenever he's talking with other deaf people. At night, Kite turns on a paging system that flashes and a unit that vibrates his bed to wake him if there is a fire alarm.

There are an estimated 50 profoundly deaf firefighters around the country.