New to Tucson? Here’s how to stay safe while enjoying our desert landscape

TIPS: Staying safe while enjoying our desert landscape

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Summers in the desert can be amazing with colorful sunsets, cooling rain storms and songs of the cicadas.

But the heat can be a little rough if you’re not used to it.

One of the biggest differences with the climate in southern Arizona is low humidity.

It’s rare for our relative humidity to rise higher than 50 percent, which can be dangerous and deceptive. Just because you aren’t sweating, doesn’t mean you aren’t overheating.

The dangers of the desert is the reason first responders were handing out water, and advice, at Tucson International Airport on Tuesday.

Jorge Santiago with the Tucson Airport Authority Fire Department said staying hydrated is crucial to everyone.

“The weird thing about dehydration is it can come very unexpectedly, so people may be dehydrated without them knowing,” he said. “(What) we’re doing is taking a proactive step by making sure they stay hydrated. Giving them water, having them drink it before they even go to their vehicles.”

Santiago said newcomers are especially susceptible to the heat.

“A lot of people that are coming from out of town, they don’t realize how quick they can become dehydrated,” he said. “So that’s why we’re talking to them, giving them tips on how to stay cool, how to stay out of the heat. We do have a lot of people that don’t realize how hot it is and they want to do outdoor activities without being acclimated to Tucson weather.”

Some signs of overheating include:

  • Change in mental status
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Vomiting

The best way to avoid overheating is drinking plenty of water.

“They should probably drink about a bottle of water every hour, on the hour,” Santiago said. “Dehydration creeps up on you without realizing it.”

If you are new to southern Arizona, we have a few more tips for staying safe during the summer months.

Whether you are from the Tucson area or are just visiting, download the KOLD News 13 First Alert weather app to stay ahead of the storms. Get it for free at

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