In 2369, he was part of team six, an away team deployed to Bersallis III under the command of Lieutenant Commander Nella Daren. The away teams set up a series of thermal deflector units to allow the colonists on the planet to escape a deadly fire storm. The storm advanced faster than anticipated and the away teams needed to remain behind to manually calibrate the deflectors. The colonists were all evacuated, but there was not enough time to evacuate all of the Enterprise-D teams before the deflectors were overtaken.
Team six used their phasers to create resonance disruptions in the force field, which created pockets in which they stood to wait out the storm. Richardson's pocket did not maintain integrity and he was one of eight crewmembers lost. He died while team members Daren and Deng watched helplessly. (TNG: "Lessons")