After a nationwide search and thorough interview process with more than 60 applicants, the Savannah Fire Department’s own Elzie Kitchen was selected to serve as Assistant Chief, Logistics. Kitchen replaces Assistant Chief Curtis Wallace who will retire this month, after 23 years of service. “This is one of my most significant professional accomplishments,” Kitchen said. “I earned the support of my peers, co-workers and City leaders by following my father’s advice to achieve success through service to others, not at the expense of others.”
As Assistant Chief of Logistics, Kitchen will manage the Fire Department budget and oversee its recruiting, training, retirement, purchasing, fire prevention, research and planning, fleet, service support, safety, facilities maintenance, and health and wellness. He will also head up the City of Savannah Incident Management Team.
In 1998, while working as a City Water Distribution Foreman, Kitchen was inspired to join the Fire Department after his former Johnson High Basketball teammate William Handy was named Firefighter of the Year. Kitchen was 28 years old when he passed the rigorous physical ability requirements and became a Savannah Firefighter. Now the two former Atom Smasher teammates hold the department’s assistant chief positions. Kitchen is Assistant Chief over Logistics and Handy is Assistant Chief over Operations.
Kitchen earned numerous degrees and certifications over the last 22 years as he worked his way up through the ranks. He became a specialist in Hazardous Materials, mitigating incidents involving chlorine gas, anhydrous ammonia and carbon monoxide. He holds masters’ degrees in public administration, emergency services management and organizational leadership, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety and Health. His certifications include Fire Officer I, II and III, Fire Instructor I and II, Hazardous Material Technician, Safety Officer, Incident Management Team Section Chief, Health and Safety Program Manager and Emergency Medical Technician.