Staying safe while trails heat up


YUMA, Ariz. - Rural Metro Fire has responded to 12 heat-related calls since March 1 and their advice to hikers is to be prepared. 

The desert southwest in heating up, which means it's time to take special precautions while outdoors. Popular trails attract beginning, moderate and experienced hikers.

"The first thing I'm going to say to do is check the weather before you go," said Charly McMurdie, Public Information Officer for Rural Metro Fire District. 

Tammy Florez and her husband hike at least once a week and agree that taking someone with you is critical, but offered advice to a hiker who might not be able to.

"The most important thing is letting people know where you're going. Where you're going to be. How long you're going to be there. So, that they know," said Florez.

The Florezs' are usually well prepared for their hikes, but Henry Florez spoke about the one time they were not. 

"We went hiking without being prepared. We didn't have enough water. We underestimated the mountain. We thought it was going to take us two hours, but it ended up taking us five hours. We ran out of water and food," said Florez.

Luckily, the Florezs' did not need to be rescued.

Rural Metro explained that the heat is not the only factor that plays a safe hike, being prepared in just as important. 

They respond to rescue calls throughout the year, not just in the summer. However, in the summer they recommend staying hydrated regardless of if you are hiking. 

"If you're going to be out there during the heat of the day, or if you're going to be out there anytime, make sure you have water with you," said McMurdie.

Rural Metro also suggested that hikers dress the part, which the Florez make sure to do.

"I take my Camelback full of ice and water, so I stay hydrated. I put sunscreen on before I leave my house, but I carry sunscreen in my pack. I have sanitizer for my hands. I wet this so if I get too hot, I can cool off," said Florez.

The last rescue Rural Metro Fire responded to was in April and the Marine Corps. search and rescue helicopter had to transport the hiker due to heat exhaustion. 

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