LYNN BROOKS, GARY HARRIS TO GO ‘OVER THE EDGE’ FOR FUNDRAISER

Lynn Over The Edge

More than 60 locals are anxiously waiting as they prepare to scale Tuscaloosa’s tallest building. But, rappelling is just part of the job for Tuscaloosa firefighters.

Over the Edge is a “high profile” Youth for Christ fundraiser. So-called “edgers” will be 140 feet above the ground, atop Tuscaloosa’s tallest building. Then, each person will step over and drop.

“There’s a difference in fear of heights and trusting your equipment,” Jeremy Shaw, Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue’s apparatus operator said.

Shaw rappels and leads training sessions every week. As part of the technical rescue team, he’s had to use ropes similar to those used in Over the Edge to save lives.

“We’ve used it in the woods,” Shaw said. “Maybe somebody down in a deep ravine gets hurt or something. Having to have a mechanical advantage system, you’ll have to have a rope system to get them up to the top.”

Once WVUA 23’s Lynn Brooks and Gary Harris were convinced it was safe, they gave it a trial run at the Alabama Fire College. Brooks said there was a big difference between a first responder and a first timer.

The toughest part, Brooks said, is letting go at the top. But once that is over, she said it was actually pretty fun – if you’re not afraid of heights.

“We all know what heights can do to you, right?” Shaw said. “But the more you train, the more you know about your equipment, the more you trust your equipment, the less anxiety you have about that.”

So, if you know someone who is nervous about going over the edge, Shaw has a reminder.

“It’s not just you building the system; everything gets double checked,” he said.

Over the Edge is tomorrow at The Tower in downtown Tuscaloosa. Viewers can watch safely from Greensboro Avenue. Lynn Brooks and Gary Harris rappel at 11 a.m. To donate to the cause, visit tuscaloosaovertheedge.com.

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