Chief John Snyder
Retired Industrial Fire Chief
Chief Snyder is the retired Fire Chief of the Marathon Petroleum Company, LP., Louisiana Refining Division and retired Fire Chief of the LaPlace Fire Department. Chief Snyder’s extensive experience encompasses industrial and municipal fire protection spanning a lifetime of dedication to his life’s passion. His focus has been to learn, understand and become a part of every fire protection program that he has been associated. Chief Snyder’s involvement ranging from infrastructure and process systems, fire protection equipment design, leadership development, personnel training, communications and all other components of fire protection planning and response.
Chief Snyder was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 23, 1961. He graduated from East St. John High School in LaPlace, LA in May 1979, at which time he joined the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department. In August 1979, he attended Delgado Community College for Machinist Technology. In the Fall of 1981 Chief Snyder transferred to Louisiana State University at Eunice to pursue a Degree in Fire Science.
In October 1983, he was elected by the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department membership to the position of Fire Chief. While serving as Chief of the department he built three new fire stations, doubled the number of active volunteer firefighters, added several apparatus to the fleet and lowered the Property Insurance Rating from a 7 to a 3.
In February 1984, Chief Snyder accepted a position with the St. John Parish Department of Public Safety. During his short tenure, he served as the Emergency Response Coordinator, Training Officer and Safety Officer. His primary job was to train Parish employees, EOC staff, fire department, and law enforcement personnel on their duties and responsibilities during a nuclear power plant emergency. He also organized and led a parish Hazardous Materials Response Team and developed an employee safety manual.
In February 1985, Chief Snyder was hired as the Fire Chief of Marathon Petroleum Company’s Louisiana Refining Division. As Fire Chief, he managed the refinery’s emergency response teams, emergency response equipment, fixed and portable fire protection systems. Under his leadership the Volunteer Emergency Response Team (VERT) was expanded from 40 members to 100 members. Additionally, Chief Snyder established a 60-member technical rescue team including organizational structure, training and leadership development. Chief Snyder is credited with adapting and developing the industry’s first “Big Water Flow” concept using 12” hose for supply and extinguishment. Chief Snyder developed the operational principles which led to the design of large diameter hose response equipment i.e. 12 inch diameter Hose Recovery unit, Portable Skid Pumps and High Volume Flow Monitors.
In June 2003, Chief Snyder accepted the assignment as Emergency Response Coordinator to upgrade the facility emergency response plan, expand Emergency Center Operations, and enhance Incident Command System training for the Emergency Operation Command Staff.
In January 2004, he accepted the responsibilities of the Facility Security Officer (FSO) to support the development and implementation of new security measures required under the Maritime Transportation Security Act overseen by the United State Coast Guard. In January 2010 after successfully implementing the enhanced security requirements, Chief Snyder returned to his position as Refinery Fire Chief.
Chief Snyder’s extensive training and certifications include:
• Industrial and Municipal Firefighting
• High Angle/Confine Space Rescue
• Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator
• Rescue Auto Extrication
• Hazardous Material Technician Level
• Emergency Medical Responder
• Oil Spill Containment
• Incident Command and Leadership
Chief Snyder serves as guest Instructor at the Texas A&M Annual Industrial Fire School achieving the status as Master Instructor with 21 years of service. Additionally, Chief Snyder has instructed at the William’s/3M Foam School, the National Foam Fire School, the Phos-Chek Foam School, Louisiana Fire and Emergency Training Institute (LSU-FETI) and the Louisiana State Police Hazardous Materials Training Center. Chief Snyder has taught college level fire science courses for the Louisiana State University at Eunice.
Chief Snyder’s response experience includes emergency response activities in municipal and industrial environments. These experiences include commanding major incidents involving major refinery process fires, large diameter storage tank fires and major structure fires.
Chief Snyder accomplishments and career achievements include Lifetime Membership in the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department and the Louisiana Firemen’s Association. Chief Snyder is a member of the Louisiana Fire Chiefs Association, International Fire Chiefs Association, National Fire Protection Association, Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association, St. John the Baptist Parish Local Emergency Planning Committee and the St. James Parish Mutual Aid Association.
During Chief Snyder’s outstanding 37-year career in the emergency response arena, he has received numerous awards for his outstanding service to the community and to Marathon’s Louisiana Refining Division to include the Medal of Valor and the Life Saving awards.
In March 2016, Chief Snyder retired as Fire Chief of the LaPlace Fire Department and on February 1, 2017 he retired as Fire Chief from Marathon Petroleum Company. Chief Snyder currently resides in LaPlace, Louisiana and is married to his lovely wife of 31 years, Cheryl. They have four daughters, Kelly 28, Katie 24 and twins Hailey and Hanna 21. His hobbies include working on his restored 1955 Chevy street rod, cooking and fishing.