Henderson Patrick has spent the past month learning the ins and outs of the Chandler Fire Department.
As a leading fire officer with the Barbados Fire Service, Patrick wanted to observe training and fire education in Chandler to bring back ideas to help his department move forward.
The idea came about after a Chandler resident visited Barbados and suggested it to Patrick. Barbados and Chandler fire officials saw similarities, including each fire department having about the same number of firefighters.
“There really is a lot that Chandler has to offer,” said Patrick, a 20-year veteran of the Barbados Fire Service. “The department is very community oriented.”
The experience has been so successful that the Chandler Fire Department wants to send two firefighters to Barbados next year for two weeks. The following year they hope to accommodate another firefighter from Barbados, said Dan Couch, a Chandler Fire spokesman.
During his stay, Patrick has been most impressed with the level of training provided and with Chandler’s management philosophy.
“Almost every person in the department has a say, which raises morale and creates a sense of ownership,” said Patrick, 44, father of two children and one on the way. “It’s a very healthy climate.”
Patrick has lived at Chandler Fire Station 8 since Aug. 21, participating in training during the day and going out on calls with firefighters at night. He has also visited with the Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe fire departments.
Patrick trained in technical rescue, hazardous materials, extrication and emergency medical services. He sat down with division heads to pick their brains, and visited a child car seat clinic and the Hall of Flame Museum.
“The officers (firefighters) are very accommodating,” said Patrick, who leaves Saturday. “They always made me feel like a part of the team.”
Since Barbados will be hosting the finals and six games of the World Cup Cricket, the Caribbean island has had to improve physical infrastructure, standards and training to prepare for the expected 30,000 who will come to partake in the festivities from February to April. The Barbados Fire Service will play a significant role, Patrick said.
In Barbados, Patrick is responsible for the research and planning unit, which includes training and fire safety. After his training in Chandler he is expected to help set up a fire prevention and community relations unit.
Chandler Fire public education officer Marty Dangel, who put together Patrick’s itinerary, said he wanted Patrick to get the general training that every Chandler firefighter goes through.
“It gives our firefighters diversity,” Dangel said. “It’s good training for all of us. I’m real happy to have him here.”