Sedona AZ (May 31, 2017) – The Memorial Day weekend in Sedona proved to be a busy one for emergency responders. Over the long weekend, fire district crews responded to three backcountry rescues, a pedestrian that was struck by a vehicle in Oak Creek Canyon, and a particularly busy period where they answered 10 emergency calls in less than three hours.
On Friday crews responded to a back country rescue for a hiker with a broken ankle.
Saturday brought two more back country rescues, one for a hiker with a broken ankle and another for a hiker that was suffering from exhaustion and dehydration. Fire Marshal Jon Davis stressed the importance of being prepared while hiking, “We continue to educate people about the importance of being prepared with water for hydration and protection from the elements. It is a very big deal and can be the difference between a safe fun hike and a tragedy.”
On Sunday shortly after 10:00 a.m. crews responded to 10 emergency calls over the next couple of hours. The first call during that surge of activity was a head on collision on Midgley Bridge. Multiple patients from the accident sustained injuries that required entry into the trauma system with one patient requiring helicopter transport. Later in the day, further up the canyon, another accident involving a motorcycle produced two more patients.
Monday evening, a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle traveling nearly 40 mph. The pedestrian, a woman in her mid-twenties, was struck as she walked along the road. Fire District paramedics
stabilized the victim who was then transferred to a helicopter and flown to Flagstaff for further treatment.
“Our stations and crews were busy this weekend but we were able to meet the demand for services by stations traversing the district as calls came in” said Fire Chief Kris Kazian. “As an emergency services provider, the citizens expect us to be there for them when they call us. This means that we must adjust our staffing based on expected call volume, station locations, response times, and seasonal variations. Emergencies are not predictable,” said Kazian.
“It would be nice if we were able to schedule our days with some certainty, but due to the nature of the business that is not possible,” added Davis.
The Fire District must make decisions based on historical data, but that is not always an accurate predictor of future needs. “We know that our back country rescues increase this time of year and we also know that they tend to be long duration, labor intensive operations,” said the Chief, “Additionally, we are seeing Sedona to be a very busy place and that equates to more incidents.” The flurry of activity over a two and a half hour period on Sunday is a good example of that. While not unheard of, those types of bursts are becoming more common.
“We, as fire district managers must continue to balance the needs of the community when it comes to providing emergency service responses” said Kazian, “We are always trying to find the perfect balance.”