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Fire captain moving to lead battalion

Mark Savage worked as voice of department

Posted: August 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Capt. Mark Savage, right, looks at a map of a brush fire near Val Verde on Friday. Capt. Mark Savage, right, looks at a map of a brush fire near Val Verde on Friday.
Capt. Mark Savage, right, looks at a map of a brush fire near Val Verde on Friday.

After three “tours” in downtown Los Angeles, Capt. Mark Savage of Valencia is heading back to operations for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, officials announced recently.

Savage will take his 27 years of experience to an as-yet-undetermined location, but he’s looking forward to serving as a battalion chief for whichever one of the county’s 22 battalions could use his help, he said.

Previously, as “the voice” of the county’s Fire Department, Savage was working at headquarters in the downtown office, where he was invaluable as a coordinator of information time and again when disaster struck, said county fire Chief Daryl Osby.

“He’s worked in some very dynamic situations, and on top of that, he’s able to understand how to manage a major incident,” Osby said. “And he has the aptitude to work with the community, the media and politicians, representing the Fire Department very well.”

Osby noted his work with Savage several years ago, when the pair created a pamphlet on how residents should react in the event of a disaster. That pamphlet is still in use today.

“I’ve had a very good relationship with the media, and I think that’s important as a public agency,” Savage said. “We’re an organization that takes pride in the job we do, not just in Santa Clarita Valley, but for the entire county of Los Angeles.”

Fire officials also praised Savage’s handling of several major incidents such as the Buckweed Fire, which burned approximately 38,000 acres of land in the Santa Clarita Valley and Agua Dulce in October 2007.

“The Buckweed incident, Mark was the head (press information officer) on that, and that incident was very dynamic,” said Bill Niccum, Fire Department assistant fire chief. “It was wind-driven, and there were thousands of evacuations. Due to (Savage’s) demeanor, he laid that out in a calming manner and accurately.”

It’s a skill set that will serve the county well in his new role as battalion chief, Niccum said.

“As an incident commander, it’s absolutely critical that the incident only has one voice, and Mark gets that.”



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