Chief Instructor, Flight Medic, Firefighter, Task Force Leader, Traveling Man…Heath Petty has done it all. He is currently a full-time Chief Instructor for Roco’s tactical/military division as well as for the civilian side of Roco. In his unique position, Heath has had the opportunity to teach rescuers in both the civilian and military arenas. He can bridge the gap between these arenas and teach the concepts associated with each discipline in a way that is practical no matter what the mission.
Having taught hundreds of classes over the years, Heath has worked with rescue teams from across the nation – including specialized teams from all branches of the military, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. As part of his “tactical-side” duties, Heath also serves as the Facility Security Officer for Roco with DOD programs in association with a Department of Energy national site.
While working for the Albuquerque (NM) Fire Department, Heath first came to work for Roco in 1998 as a part-time CPR instructor at a major computer manufacturing facility. He later completed all levels of Roco rescue training, including Instructor Development, to become an instructor in addition to his CSRT on-site rescue service duties at the manufacturing facility. In 2005, he became a Chief Instructor and taught his first Roco tactical course the following year. He retired from the AFD after 20 years and became a full-time Roco employee in October 2015.
During Heath’s 20 years with the Albuquerque Fire Department, he served as a Lieutenant on an Engine company and spent part of his career with AFD’s Heavy Rescue Station. He was also a member of the New Mexico Task Force 1, FEMA USAR team. As part of this team, he responded as a Rescue Squad Specialist to the Pentagon following the 9/11 attacks. He then responded as Rescue Squad Leader to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005. The NMTF-1 was credited with rescuing numerous civilians trapped in flood waters during these deployments on the Gulf coast.
In 2009, Heath enlisted in the New Mexico Army National Guard and was assigned as a Flight Medic on a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter, call sign DUSTOFF. He later deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). From 2011-2012, he responded to more than 200 MEDEVAC combat missions in hostile environments and received numerous awards and citations. He was medically retired from the US Army in 2019.
When asked what’s the most rewarding part of his job, Heath replied, “Working with people who are willing to put their lives on the line every day for someone else. And to see the look of satisfaction when they learn a new set of skills to better perform these lifesaving duties.” Roco’s mission aligns perfectly, Heath adds, “Our mission at Roco is to provide exceptional, up-to-date and time critical training and consulting to individuals and teams whose mission is saving lives. This could be rescuing a person from a dangerous situation or moving personnel into potentially dangerous situations, such as EOD events.”
Now, for the traveling part, Heath loves to roam the country cruising in his van. While he’s currently “parked” in Omaha, Nebraska, you never know where he’s off to next. Heath loves adventure – from mountain biking to spending time with his two amazing daughters. He’s definitely a proud dad.