3 mountain rescues within 45 minutes of each other in Scottsdale

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It was a very busy day for mountain rescues in the Scottsdale Sonoran Preserve.

Fire crews from Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix responded to three mountain rescues within 45 minutes of each other Saturday.

The first call came in at approximately 10:25 a.m, for an elderly female patient and her daughter who were hiking the Gateway Loop. Apparently, the elderly female passed out. They were about 2 miles up from the trailhead. They were rescued by Scottsdale Fire technical rescue team members, who extracted her off the trail system using a big wheel operation. She was then evaluated by Scottsdale Fire paramedics. She refused transport to the hospital.

The second call came in moments later at approximately 10:48 a.m. in the Browns Ranch area of the preserve, located at 30301 N Alma School Rd. This call was for a male mountain bike rider, who was out in the preserve riding his mountain bike. This rider told rescue crews his Camelbak was not working properly, so he didn’t drink enough water and became dehydrated. The patient was able to walk out with the assistance of Scottsdale Fire. He was given water and was monitored. The patient refused any treatment or transportation to the hospital.

The third mountain rescue occurred at approximately 11:14 a.m. in the preserve, on the back side of the Gateway Loop about 3 to 3 ½ miles from the trailhead. This was a husband and wife who hiked to Tom's Thumb and started back down when they called 911. Crews utilized a rescue helicopter to search for the hikers. Once they were located, it was determined they were lost and getting hot. With a coordinated effort, the rescue helicopter crew in the air along with the technical rescue team on the ground, crews were able to assist the hikers to the correct trail via cell phone. These folks were able to make it off the trail safely. After being evaluated by Phoenix Fire, they refused any treatment or transportation.

Scottsdale Fire offers the following safety tips:

Hiking/Mountain Rescue

  • Hikers should always carry a cell phone.
  • Stay on marked trails.
  • Drink plenty of water.  
  • Don’t hike alone.
  • Wear proper clothing and footwear.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Tell another person where you are hiking and what time you are expected to return.

Heat-Related Illnesses

  • The early symptoms of heat stress may include heavy sweating, paleness, headaches, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing and a rapid but weakened pulse rate.
  • If heat exhaustion is left untreated, it may progress to heat stroke, a severe form of heat illness.
  • When outdoors, wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF15. Apply at least 30 minutes prior to going outdoors, and re-apply as necessary.
  • Rest frequently in shady areas so that the body's temperature has a chance to recover.
  • If unaccustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, gradually increase the pace and limit exercise or work time.
  • Increase fluid intake, regardless of activity level. Don't wait until thirsty to drink fluids; drink more liquid than one's thirst indicates. Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar as they dehydrate the body.
  • Limit exercise or outdoor activity between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its peak intensity. If active during this time frame, drink a minimum of 16 to 32 ounces of water each hour.    
  • Take advantage of free air conditioning! Visit shopping malls, movie theaters or the library to escape the heat for a few hours.
  • Never leave infants, children or pets inside a parked vehicle.
  • When temperatures reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit, even with a window partially open, the temperature inside a car can reach 122 degrees in 20 minutes and 150 degrees in 40 minutes. In these conditions, children can die very quickly - in a matter of minutes.

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