Firefighters emphasize safety as warm weather draws hikers


by Kim Quintero

Bio | Email | Follow: @kimquintero

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 14 at 5:40 PM

PHOENIX -- Firefighters are bracing for what could be a busy weekend of mountain rescues.

“What we’re always concerned about is people coming out, not knowing their limitations, expecting too much, becoming dehydrated and then becoming fatigued someplace deep in the preserve where now they’re unable to get themselves out,” Phoenix Fire Capt. Jonathan Jacobs.

Hundreds of hikers spent their Valentine’s morning trekking up Piestewa Peak.

Wisconsin snowbirds Stacey and Greg Batz, along with their dog Remmie, were among the pack.

“It was pretty strenuous going up, then it got nicer going around, then the last little bit was pretty tough,” Stacey Batz said.

“This is about as hard as I’d like to get,” Greg Batz said.

With temperatures at the time in the low 70s, the Batz were breathless and perspiring at the end of their hike. Remmie was thirsty.

Temperatures both Saturday and Sunday afternoon are expected to be the warmest of the year, topping out in the mid to upper 80s across the Valley.

“If you’re going to go hiking, you need to be preparing the day before, the night before,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs advised to drink plenty of water before and during the hike.

“You should have a backpack with some water and food,” he added. "If you have any medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, you should be carrying things that you might need.”

If you have allergies, Jacobs advised to carry an EpiPen.  

“A cell phone, and then the proper clothing is going to be important for this weekend,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs also said it’s important to remember where you parked and what trail you’re on. If you need help, rescuers will need that information.