Sedona AZ (June 28, 2017) – During the last eight days Sedona Fire Crews have responded on 11 back country rescue calls. “While the summer season brings us more trail rescues, they seem to be happening with more regularity this year” said Fire Chief Kris Kazian. In the last 30 days SFD has responded on 24 back country rescues as compared with nine during the same time period in 2016.
Chief Kazian went on to explain that these types of calls are typically long duration and labor intensive, “It usually takes at least six personnel, sometimes more, to effect a trail rescue. This can take three apparatus out of service for up to five hours in some cases.” This is troubling because there are times when SFD crews are performing more than one back country rescue at the same time.
Why so many back country rescues? Captain Ralph Kurtz explains “Most of the rescues are due to the fact that people are ill prepared. They are oblivious to the danger that they are putting themselves in. There have been many times when we are carrying a patient out on the trail and we encounter hikers heading in and we ask them if they have water. It amazes me how many times they will hold up a half empty bottle of water and that is all that they have with them.” The rule of thumb for hydrating in the desert is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. This amount should increase if you are going to be physically active.
If you are planning to head out and enjoy the back country Captain Kurtz has a few simple rules to help you stay out of trouble.
1) Water – take plenty of it, more than you think you need and then throw in an extra bottle just in case.
2) Phone – make sure it is fully charged and take it with you.
3) Food – even if you only plan to be out for a short walk, throw a couple of energy bars in your pack.
4) Survival – a space blanket and a signaling mirror take up virtually no space in your day pack and can mean the difference between survival and disaster.
5) Inform – let someone know your plans, where you are going and when you plan to return.
6) Take a buddy – neve hike alone. If something happens to one of you, the other can get help.
7) Stay put – if something happens and you have to call for help, find some shade and stay put. It is much harder for rescuers to find you if you continue to move.
“We want people to hike responsibly and enjoy everything that Sedona has to offer ” said Kurtz, “They need to remember that everything in the desert is hostile, from the plants and animals to the environment. You must plan well to survive when all of the other factors are working against you.”