Richard W. Patrick (Rick) graduated from NL in 1978. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Safety Management from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, an undergrad degree in engineering safety, and is a certified Paramedic and Firefighter and Executive Fire Officer. He is a graduate of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (Cohort IX), Harvard – Kennedy School of Government, and the Naval Post-Graduate School, Center for Homeland Defense & Security’s (Monterey CA) Executive Leaders Program. Patrick serves as Director of the National Fire Programs Directorate for the United States Fire Administration in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency. The National Fire Programs Directorate leads the USFA’s National Fire Data Center, Fire and Emergency Medical Services Technology Research Initiatives, National Fire and Injury Prevention Outreach, and Disaster Response Assistance mission.
Patrick began his service with DHS in June 2008 as Chief of the Medical First Responder Coordination Division in the DHS HQ Office of Health Affairs (OHA), where he led outreach to the first responder community and the development of the Departments Emergency Medical Services System. He then served as the Deputy Director and Director (acting) of the Workforce Health & Medical Support Division. In 2015, Patrick was selected by DHS and served a one year "Brookings Institute Congressional Legislative Fellowship" in the United States Senate. He was Senior Advisor for First Responder Policy to the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs & Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) prior to joining the U.S. Fire Administration.
Over his extensive career, Patrick has served in many capacities, including firefighter, emergency medical technician (EMT), paramedic, flight medic, chief executive officer, EMS chief and chief fire officer. He served as a Division Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief for the Estero Fire Rescue District (FL) prior to joining DHS. Patrick is the former Director of EMS Programs and Emergency Service Initiatives for VFIS (the Nation’s largest fire and EMS insurance company), and a former Chief of EMS in Lebanon PA where he was instrumental in implementing the area's paramedic service. He served on one of the first Quick Response Medical Units in Grantville PA. Chief Patrick was presented with a ‘Life Membership’ award in 2008 from the Union Hose Co (Annville, PA) Fire Department for twenty plus years of service. He also served as a public member on the Board of Directors for the Wheaton (MD) Volunteer Rescue Squad and was awarded an ‘Honorary Membership’ in 2020 for his service.
At the national level, Patrick has been actively involved with public safety and public health organizations, taking on key leadership positions. He is a lead member of the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS) and represents DHS on several Federal and national committees. He maintains a close working relationship with national non-government first responder and special interest organizations. Patrick served as Chair of the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) National Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C. and is a past chair of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) Health & Safety Task Group. He also serves as a Principal Member of the Technical Committees on EMS, Community Paramedicine, Ambulance Design, and Personal Protective Equipment for the National Fire Protection Association. In 2010, the International Association of Fire Chiefs EMS Section bestowed a “Meritorious Service Award” to Chief Patrick for his dedication, service and work toward the betterment of the nationwide emergency medical services industry. He has received several DHS Special Awards during his homeland security tenure.
As a published author and seasoned orator, Chief Patrick has been recognized at the national, Federal, and international level for his expertise in a variety of speaking, leadership, public safety, risk management, health security, and homeland security topics.
Patrick currently resides in Frederick, Maryland with his wife, Linda. They have four children and six grandchildren. He is an avid golfer and enjoys hiking, traveling the world, and spoiling his grandchildren. Something that Patrick most appreciated about NL was how “school spirit was always present, and how we Vikings showed that spirit in everything we did. Be proud!” The following is Patrick’s advice for current students: I recall one of my NLHS senior class teachers telling us; “Be part of the solution; otherwise you are part of the problem.” If nothing else, remember this: “Anything is Possible – Anything.”