Picture special: ‘Firefighter Olympics’ in Custom House

Fire crews from around the world competed against each other in Custom House at the weekend in the first ever ‘firefighter Olympics’.

Teams from as far apart as Ireland and New Zealand went hose-to-hose in the World Rescue Challenge at ExCeL London.

The free, family event pitted ultra fit firefighters against each other in a number of disciplines designed to show off what other skills crews excel at when are they not extinguishing fires.

Both days featured rope challenges with firefighters rescuing people from cranes; extrication challenges with actors pulled out of crashed cars made to look like they have been involved in a serious accident with make up and prosthetics; urban search and rescue demonstrations with firefighters rescuing people from rubble; and a spectacular parachutist crash landing in the Docks with rescue teams on speedboats.

This year’s World Rescue Challenge featured a number of firsts such as rapping firefighters performing for the crowds, penalty shoot outs with community staff at West Ham United, a cook off between stations - with a helping hand from the catering students at Newham College - and a number of sweltering demonstrations to see what happens when you throw water over a deep fat fryer.

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Families also met the canine stars of many crews, the special fire dogs, who are often used in investigations to discover the causes of blazes, and they also got the chance to walk around Community Safety World, a life-sized house where children can learn fire prevention tips.

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