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Paul W Gillespie   [save as a favorite?]
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Image © Paul W Gillespie || A recruit pulls hose to fight a raging car fire. The final day of training at the Anne Arundel County Fire Training Academy in Millersville for Class 52 involved simulated real world situations in both fire fighting and rescue operations.
|| General Information: || Portfolio:
Paul W Gillespie: Photographer: Capital Gazette/Baltimore Sun Media Group
Address: 888 Bestgate Drive, Annapolis, MD 21401, USA
Phone: 410-280-5941work
410-279-5661 cell
Paul W Gillespie's Message: I shot and wrote a long term project on the local fire training academy for my paper The Capital. Here is the text and pictures. Enjoy

"You guys will succeed together or you will fail together."

Those were some of the first words 77 recruits at the Anne Arundel County Fire Department Training Academy in Millersville heard April 11.

It was the first day at the academy in Millersville, and acting Lt. Erik Kornmeyer was kicking off the session with some words of wisdom.

Don't park in the wrong spot. Some of the recruits had to confess their mistake in front of their classmates.

Thus began a 14-week journey to become probationary firefighters. As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by firefighters. When I was a child, my dad was good friends with an Atlantic City, N.J., firefighter, and I was allowed to come to the firehouse, play on the firetrucks and try on the gear. This was in the 1970s, before everyone became so worried about lawsuits. Now I was going to get an extended, inside look at what it takes to become a firefighter.

The first few weeks covered the basics — the proper way to carry a ladder, use self-contained breathing apparatus and work with fire hoses.

As the weeks and the summer heat progressed, recruits worked on the more difficult skills — rappelling from a high structures, making forcible entries and climbing high ladders while carrying heavy gear. They even practiced jumping into a pool wearing full gear to learn how to react if they found themselves in that situation in real life.

All the while, they were being watched and tested by recruit training officers, their guides along the way. Sometimes drill instructors and sometimes cheerleader, RTOs were there to mold them into firefighters.

As the session wound toward the end, the focus turned more toward working as a team. Recruits were entering flame- and smoke-filled buildings, putting out fires and making simulated rescues.

On the last day came the real test — eight-plus hours of answering simulated calls around the training facility.

There were building fires with rescues, vehicle collisions with trapped passengers, brush fires and drownings. It was the last chance for the recruits to show what they had learned and the RTOs to make sure they were doing it right. The ultimate goal is safety.

As the final evening wound down, everyone looked exhausted, but happy it was over.

Seventy-one had made it through this part of the program, and many of the recruits would report to fire stations around the county as probationary firefighters the next day. Twenty-three would continue their training to become emergency medical technicians. A graduation ceremony will be held Sept. 10, once the EMTs are done with their training.


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I have been a photojournalist in the Baltimore / Washington, DC area for the past fourteen years. I am a staff photographer at Capital Gazette Communications, A Baltimore Sun Media Group company, in Annapolis, MD. We produce a number of different media products, including the daily The Capital newspaper, twice weekly Maryland Gazette, associated websites and other publications.

Before coming to the area I lived in the Atlantic City, NJ area for 30 years. I was both a staff photographer and a freelancer, shooting for a wide range of clients including area casino and The Press of Atlantic City.

I have experience in many areas of photography from photojournalism to commercial and yes I have even shot my share of weddings.
Last Update: 724 days ago
Member Since: 7.19.2002

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The images below are from the portfolio of Paul W Gillespie. They are presented here for your viewing pleasure. These images may not be used elsewhere and are protected by copyright. To see these images, click on the icon and you will see a much larger image.
1 "Untitled"
A recruit pulls hose to fight a raging car fire. The final day of training at the Anne Arundel Count...
2 "Untitled"
Recruit Nicholas Hoisington carries a baby doll victim from a smoke and fire filled building on a si...
3 "Untitled"
Acting Lieutenant Erik Kornmeyer tells the recruits "you guys will succeed together or you will fail...
4 "Untitled"
Recruit Joseph Preston practices chasing down a out of control hose. Today's training, in late April...
5 "Untitled"
Recruit Jared Grote finishes putting on his gear as he exits a fire truck on a simulated call. The f...
6 "Untitled"
Instructors and recruits watch as a fellow recruit carries a ladder up another ladder onto the roof ...
7 "Untitled"
The recruits practice the proper way to handle the large ladders that will be a part of their jobs. ...
8 "Untitled"
Division Chief Timothy Mikules debriefs recruits after they worked on a simulated wires down call th...
9 "Untitled"
Recruits fight the final and largest fire of the night with fire on both the first and second floors...
10 "Untitled"
Recruits fight the final and largest fire of the night with fire on both the first and second floors...

|| Paul W Gillespie's Work History:
Full Time The (Annapolis) Capital Maryland, (2000 - Present)
The Current Newspapers New Jersey, (1997 - 1999)
Freelance The Press of Atlantic City New Jersey, (1999 - 2000)
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