Scott Kline has a unique obligation to the town of Kittanning. He is the Fire Chief of Kittanning Hose Company #6 as well as the mayor of the Borough.
“If you have key people built around you as your foundation, you can pretty much manage anything,” Kline said with a reassuring look.
Kline comes from a family of fire fighters. During the past four generations, the Kline family was involved in fire fighting and serving the community. Scott Kline starting off as a junior fire fighter in 1984. For him, it is now a way of giving back. Beginning with his grandfather , to his father, and now his children – two sons and two daughters – the family heritage continues.
The entire fire department is staffed with volunteers. As an independent station in a small town like Kittanning, Kline said it can be difficult to get funding for fire department expenses.
“Grants make it nice to where you can apply for something where the money is not a burden towards the fire department having to come up with the money or the tax payers,” Kline explained. “A lot of it is coming through the companies; a lot is funded through taxes eventually down the road but distributed differently.”
Firefighters hold fund raisers like an annual golf outing at the end of June and a raffle conducted at the end of every month.
Hose Company #6 recently was awarded a grant for $775 for supplies of their choice. He chose to use it to purchase foam for fire suppression. This can be used on small fires such as car fires and other isolated issues.
Currently Kline has applied for federal grants for water rescue, brush fire work, and for unconventional gas well funding programs.
“Those grants can vary from $500 to hundreds of thousands of dollars; it just depends on how lucky we are.”
Kline pointed out that “everybody is competing for the same dollar, which makes it rough because you are asking people to contribute and they have families, kids in college, taxes, and upkeep on their homes. So all that adds up.”
Kline has high hopes for the future for Kittanning and thinks they are on the right track in achieving that goal.
“As long as we provide a steady growth plan, those in the department will do well. We try to provide a educational base here. We try to take the guys one notch above a lot of things as far as the training. We put the guys through the Fire Fighter 1 and Fire Fighter 2 classes through the state, so their state certification is in.”
Kline is working hard as a mayor and fire chief.
“Overall I would like to take the success I had being a fire chief over to being successful as a mayor.”
With his track record, he will achieve his goal.
by KP Intern Johnathan Jackson