What Does It Mean To You?New Post from New Contributor Bill Schnaekel


The quality of your service depends on your investment and experience


What does being a backstep fighter mean to you? To me, it is a title that reaches far beyond the scope of this or any other website. It is a desire to learn, share, and do what is right and what works best. It is all-inclusive as opposed to all-hazards. It is an attitude. It is the very essence of the occupation, in and of itself.

I have heard firefighters, good ones at that declare that when it comes to our business, you either have it or you don’t. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t disagree more. Great firefighters aren’t born that way, they are taught through a variety of mediums such as the website you are attentively reading right now.

BillSchnaekelPhotoSo how do you involve those firefighters that just don’t get it? Well, the good news is I don’t think you need to make any drastic changes or remember any additional passwords or acronyms. Just be yourself. The passion that you share for the job is contagious, regardless of whether you get paid for it or not.

Continue to envelop yourself in business. Encourage others that the words “minimum standards” should not be in their vocabulary. See to it that they surround themselves with other individuals who are doing the same, people like you for instance. Soon enough, other members will take heed and follow suit.

If you take a few minutes to read my biography, you’ll see that, like you, I am very actively involved in the fire service. Some might suggest that I am at an increased risk of getting injured, but from my perspective, the added exposure helps me operate more efficiently on the fireground. This, in turn, inadvertently keeps me safer.

While you may not have the same set of fortunate circumstances that I have had, I would highly encourage you to do the same. Be active in the fire service by taking every opportunity to learn and share what you can. Test theories and practical applications so you can experience firsthand what works and what doesn’t. 

Before long, you will have created your own legacy. Take care and I look forward to talking to you soon!

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BillSchnaekelBioPhotoBill Schnaekel is a truck chauffeur in the bustling area of Tysons Corner in Virginia, running an average of close to 2,000 calls a year. Born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, Bill is a fifth generation firefighter who has had eight relatives in the fire service since 1898. Bill served as a volunteer for six years prior to getting hired in 1998 by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, one hundred years after his great-great grandfather joined. In addition to his full time job, Bill works part time as a firefighter / chauffeur with the West York Fire Department and as a State Suppression Instructor in Pennsylvania. In the past, he has served as a Battalion Training Officer and assisted in training the recruits at the Fire and Rescue Academy as well as veteran firefighters within the safety and survival program. His formal education includes working on a degree in fire science through Tidewater Community College. He is currently on the Lieutenant Eligibility list and eagerly anticipating promotion. In February of 2013, he created the Facebook Page “Holding1and1”, a resource to discuss fireground operations and firefighter interests with his friend, Lt. Mike Dowling.


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