COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) dedicated the new Bunker Gear Drying Facility at Brayton Fire Training Field to a champion of the Texas Fire Service, Pat Barrett. The dedication ceremony on Saturday, July 20, drew about 150 fire chiefs and other fire service leaders, TEEX officials and employees, along with members of the Barrett family who uncoupled a fire hose as a symbolic ribbon-cutting for the new building.
Barrett, who began his career as a volunteer firefighter in Spur, TX, managed municipal firefighter training programs and annual schools at Brayton Fire Training Field from 1992 until his sudden death in 2010.
“Chief Pat Barrett was very instrumental in the growth of the Brayton Fire Training Field, and we wanted to find a way to recognize his many contributions,” said Chief Robert Moore of the TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute (ESTI). “Chief Barrett was an influential leader who left his mark on the Texas Fire Service and TEEX. He was loved by all at ESTI and is greatly missed to this day. It is fitting that the Bunker Gear Drying Facility bears his name so that those who enter can be reminded of the integrity, selfless service, and love for the fire service that Pat Barrett showed every day, and so that all who enter can aspire to live up to the example Pat Barrett set for us.”
Other speakers at the dedication ceremony included Barrett’s daughter, Megean Barrett, Chief Jim Arnold, Chief Tom Foster, former TEEX Director Dr. G. Kemble Bennett, as well as current TEEX Agency Director Gary Sera.
The 5,000-square-foot Pat Barrett Bunker Gear Drying Facility will provide climate-controlled space for storage and drying of firefighter clothing for multi-day training classes conducted by TEEX, including the Municipal Fire Training School going on this week. Dehumidification units are used to remove at least 70 percent of the moisture from the bunker gear in a 12-hour period.
“The Pat Barrett Bunker Gear Drying Facility has already begun making a difference for the firefighters who visit Brayton Fire Training Field,” Moore added. “This building will house 322 sets of gear and provide shower facilities in the heart of where training occurs. We will no longer see firefighters chipping ice off of their bunker gear on cold mornings or stepping into soggy wet suits on 100-degree summer days, which adds another level of safety for our customers.”
The facility was designed by Chesney Morales & Associates of San Antonio, and the contractor was Quad-Tex Construction.
About Pat Barrett
Pat Barrett was an advocate of firefighter safety and education, and was especially devoted to the state’s volunteer firefighters who selflessly serve their neighbors and communities. He received the prestigious Regents Fellow Service Award from The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents in 2003 for his exemplary service to improving fire protection for the citizens of Texas through enhancing the quality and accessibility of firefighter training across the state.
Barrett was one of the original members and assisted in the development of Texas Task Force 1, the statewide urban search and rescue team. He also served on the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, the Texas Forest Service Rural Fire Advisory Board, and was serving as 4th vice president of the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas at the time of his death.
About Brayton Fire Training Field
Brayton Fire Training Field is one of the world’s largest live-fire training facilities and includes some of the largest and most realistic fire training props anywhere. Students can receive hands-on training on a loading terminal, process unit, chemical complex, aerial cooler, aircraft, ship, and more. Rescue props include those designed for confined space and high-angle rescue, as well as towers and even a passenger train. Hazardous materials training includes a hazmat chemical complex, tanker cars, and 2,300-foot underground pipeline training prop with eight above-ground training stations.