Operations Chief Rick L. Patterson is retiring from the Hoover Fire Department as of August 1st, 2017. Chief Patterson ‘s professional firefighting career spans over 42 years of service with 38 of those years with the City of Hoover. The fire service is a long lasting tradition in the Patterson family. His grandfather, the late Joe M. Patterson, retired as a Fire Captain from the Gadsden Fire Department and his uncle, Loyal Scott, retired as a Lieutenant from the Gadsden Fire Department. His son Hunter is a firefighter for the Birmingham Fire Department.
Chief Patterson started his firefighting career in 1975 with the Hillview 78 West Fire District (now known as the Forestdale Fire District) and quickly rose to the rank of Fire Chief of the department. He earned his paramedic certification from UAB in 1977. Under his leadership the Forestdale Fire District improved fire hydrant distribution, training, equipment, manpower and constructed fire station # 2 for improved services. This in turn earned the fire district a lower ISO rating. He joined the Hoover Fire Department in 1985 and was assigned to Station 5 in Bluff Park. Two years later he was promoted to Lieutenant and was assigned to fire station # 6 off Highway 150. In the 1990’s Chief Patterson served at fire station 4 on Municipal Drive and was promoted to the rank of Captain where he served at fire station 3 in Riverchase. In 2009 he was promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief and served on the administrative staff as Chief of the Training, Safety & Health Bureau. The training for personnel and new recruits were greatly expanded along with safety initiatives which reduced fire ground injuries. The overall health of the firefighters became a concern due to occupational risks and under his leadership a physical training program was adopted department wide. This program improved the cardiovascular fitness and strength of the firefighters for their health and for the ability to perform their respective duties. Additionally, he was instrumental in adopting a mandatory health physical for all personnel performed by a physician certified in occupational health and by the National Fire Protection Association. This advanced health physical program over the past six years detected cardiac issues , cancers and other debilitating illnesses which were all successfully treated. This is an important program due to the fact firefighters suffer from cardiac related issues and cancer at much higher percentage rate than the normal population directly due to on the job exposures and strenuous workloads.
In 2015 Chief Patterson became the Chief of Operations with the responsibilities of the departmental infrastructure, apparatus, budget and special operations. During this time several projects were completed such as station upgrades and the expansion of the training drill field. Chief Patterson served on the command staff of the department and as a team, accomplished many projects over the years which directly benefitted the department, personnel and the citizens of Hoover. Chief Patterson is particularly proud of being a part of the team that achieved a Class 1 ISO rating for the department. Chief Patterson holds active membership in several professional organizations such as The Central Alabama Fire Chief’s Association, Alabama Association of Fire Chief’s, Alabama Association of Arson Investigators and the International Association of Fire Chief’s. Additionally, he served as President of the Jefferson County Association of Fire Departments from 1983 to 1985. Chief Patterson received multiple accolades through his career to include the Jaycees Firefighter of the Year Award in 1983, The Lions Club Community Service Award in 1985 and the Hoover Firefighter of the Year Award in 1996.
Throughout his distinguished career Chief Patterson responded to thousands of calls for emergency assistance and had the opportunity to touch many lives. The City of Hoover and the community as a whole appreciates the years of your deep devotion and dedication of serving others with honor and integrity. We wish you the very best with your well-deserved retirement. Chief Patterson along with his wife Diane, reside in Mount Olive and are active members of Gardendale First Baptist.