Phoenix Fire shares heat safety tips as temperatures rise

It’s important for hikers to eat healthy snacks and drink plenty of water before, during, and after a hike to help prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Published: Apr. 9, 2023 at 9:44 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The heat is a big reason people love to live and visit Arizona, but we should not downplay it. With temperatures reaching 90 degrees in some parts of the state Sunday, the Phoenix Fire Department wanted to remind locals, visitors, and hikers about heat safety tips.

The warmer temps did not keep people from hiking Piestewa Peak. Making it to the top is a piece of cake for Oscar Faivre. “I’ve done this about five times now, so this will be like my sixth,” said Faivre.

Other hikers welcomed the change in temperature after a couple of weeks of cool weather. “I love the heat. I can’t complain. It’s beautiful. No complaints,” said Maddie Dean. However, Faivre and Dean couldn’t deny noticing the sudden warm-up. “I mean 90 degrees can kind of sneak up on you maybe, so you should still prepare,” said Faivre.

Captain Todd Keller with Phoenix Fire said Arizonans know what to expect in the summer months, but until we acclimate ourselves, this will be new for all of us. He said it’s important for hikers to eat healthy snacks and drink plenty of water before, during, and after a hike to help prevent serious issues like heat exhaustion or heat stroke. “The difference between heat exhaustion, is you sweat. You’re becoming flushed and getting dizzy. It’ll progress into heat stroke and you could become unconscious and your body will actually stop sweating,” said Capt. Keller.

To avoid getting stranded without water, Phoenix Fire said hikers should call it quits when their bottled water is half empty. “You want to make this a round trip ticket. Just cause you don’t make it to the top of the mountain, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a successful hike,” said Capt. Keller. If you end up stuck, you’re advised to avoid leaving the trail. It will make it harder for your to find your way back to the trailhead and for rescuers to find you.

Phoenix Fire also would like hikers to keep in mind the safety of their rescuers. “You’re not only putting yourself in danger, you’re putting the firefighters, the first responders in danger,” said Capt. Keller.

The Phoenix Fire Dept. had more than 200 mountain rescues last year and in 2021. We’re told the city’s new trail closure program during excessive heat warnings has been positive. However, the department is still looking at data to decide which trails could be off-limits this year.