Firefighters from around the world competing in Clearwater - FOX 13 News

Firefighters from around the world competing in Clearwater

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CLEARWATER (FOX 13) -

The world's top firefighters are testing their rescue skills in Clearwater this week. The four-day World Rescue Challenge is underway at Coachman Park.

This is the first year the training event has been held in the United States. It includes 28 teams from 20 countries.

"They're trained professionals. These are 30 elite teams that come here. No matter what we throw at them, they'll come up with a solution," says Organizer Dan Zinge of the North American Vehicle Rescue Association.

Training involves real-life scenarios with medical rescuers serving as patients. The activities test skill, quickness and safety.

"The real winners are the people we serve," Zinge says.

Some firefighters say this year's challenge comes with new tools and new weather conditions.

"It's not snowing, it's not sleeting, it's not cold, it's not windy," says Firefighter Lee Havey of Hampshire, England.

The differences also include vehicles.

"Very large, everyday vehicles, they are not so every day with us," says Firefighter Steve Barrow of Hampshire, England. "It's a bit of a headache for some of the European teams, definitely."

Other participating teams traveled from Ghana, Germany, Ireland, Australia, Spain and Wales.

St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue is the only local team competing in this year's challenge.

The world rescue challenge continues daily at 8 a.m. It is free and open to the public; the event runs through Saturday.

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