Sedona AZ (June 5, 2017) – Shortly before 2:30 pm on Sunday, June 4, 2017, Sedona Fire District (SFD) crews responded to a reported injured hiker on the Secret Canyon Trail. SFD emergency crews responded from SFD fire station #1 in West Sedona and SFD fire station #4 in Uptown Sedona to the Secret Canyon Trailhead off of Dry Creek Rd.
Once at the trailhead, SFD Battalion Chief Jayson Coil was able to establish that the injured hiker had suffered a ground level fall approximately five hours earlier and sustained serious extremity injuries. It was also determined that the hiker was two plus miles from the trailhead. Once SFD crews were able to access the patient they made the decision to initiate a short haul operation to extricate the patient. Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue was requested to assist with the operation and Ranger 58 out of Phoenix was dispatched to the scene.
Once on scene, SFD Engineer Cooper Carr joined Ranger 58 and they “short hauled” the injured hiker to an established landing zone at a nearby golf course. The injured hiker was transported to Sedona Emergency Center by SFD ground ambulance. For pictures and a short video of this rescue please visit the SFD Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SedonaFire/ .
Short haul is an emergency rescue tool meant to quickly get an individual out of a dangerous situation or remote area and place them in a safe location. Short haul involves a rescuer being lowered on a rope from a hovering helicopter, to a victim below. After the rescuer rigs a harness to the patient, or if injures warrant, places the victim in a stokes litter basket, the helicopter lifts both to safety.
To complicate matters, at approximately 3:00 pm another rescue call was received for an injured hiker in the Cave Springs area of Oak Creek Canyon. Initially, rescue crews decided to initiate another short haul operation and a second DPS helicopter out of Kingman was dispatched. It was later determined that the patient would not require a short haul rescue and that SFD crew would be able to rescue this patient utilizing another method.
SFD has responded to 13 hiking related rescues since March 1, 2017. These types of incidents are very labor intensive and time consuming. In many cases these types of incidents involve multiple fire, EMS and law enforcement agencies.
According to SFD Engineer Cooper Carr, here are a few tips you can follow to help make your hike a safe and fun trip:
1. Always wear proper foot wear.
2. Bring food, water, and appropriate clothing.
3. Carry a cell phone
4. Let someone know where you are going and your expected time you will return.
5. Never hike alone.