Fear of heights not an option for Pasco firefighters

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Pasco County firefighters trained high off the ground Thursday as part of their ropes exercises.

“You have to trust your equipment. It’s nerve-racking, no doubt," said Captain Darrin Dieters with Pasco County Fire Rescue. "It does not matter how high off the ground you are. When you’re hooked in your equipment, you have to trust what you’re doing."

That equipment amounts to a harness and two safety ropes, which are rated for weights up to 9,000 pounds.

One by one, firefighters leaned out over the edge, 80 feet up, on top of the Edwinola, an assisted living facility in Dade City.

“The county's growing exponentially,” said William Lingo with Pasco County Fire Rescue. He headed up the training.  “We're gonna have high rises in this area. We want our guys to be able to handle any situation."

FOX 13’s Josh Cascio also repelled down the building to find out how scary it really was.  

For the pros, however, this was just another day at the office.

“I have less of a fear of heights now than before I started,” Capt. Dieters said.