Snake season has begun in Southern Arizona

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Rattlesnake season has begun in Southern Arizona.  And if you want to avoid the bite.  There's a few steps to follow.

Northwest Fire has already received several dozen snake calls this year and according to Captain Adam Goldberg, that number's about to increase rapidly.

Southern Arizona's snake season runs every year from March until October. It's hard not to encounter the slithery creatures and if one comes your way, don't provoke it.

"Respect it like it needs to be respected so you stay out of harms way and don't get hurt by the snake," said Captain Goldberg. 

Captain Goldberg says to back away from the snake slowly and keep an eye on it until it moves out of the area.

"Certainly keep your distance, back away from it, keep the dogs away from it, don't let the kids near it," said Goldberg.

If you can't get away in time and the snake bites, the most important thing to remember, stay calm.

"The more panicked you get the faster your heart beats, the more your blood pressure goes up and that potentially can bring the snake venom through your system much faster," said Goldberg.

People with a bite shouldn't apply a tourniquet or try to suck any kind of poison out of the wound.

"Stay off of the extremity, for example if its a lower foot or leg that's been bitten on don't walk on it," said Goldberg.

To avoid a bite all together, captain Goldberg suggests eliminating food from around your house, wear closed-toe shoes or boots and use a flashlight at night.

But perhaps the best thing you can do is keep your eyes and ears open at all times.

Call the Northwest Fire Life Safety Office at 887-1010 with more questions and concerns about rattlesnakes in your area.

A crew will only respond to a snake siting if it's in your home or a walled yard.