Hiker rescue calls ramp up as hotter temperatures arrive in Southern Arizona

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 5:58 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Rising temperatures means danger for hikers. Members of the Southern Arizona Rescue Association tell us it’s that time of year where they see calls for rescues ramp up.

One of the most important things for us here in the desert is staying hydrated. The Southern Arizona Rescue Association says if you’re out on a hike and you only have about half your water left. It’s time to turn around and go back before it’s too late.

“Sometimes we can have three calls in a day. On these hot days, on occasion we may have two to three rescues going on at the same time,” SARA volunteer John Perchorowicz said.

As temperatures climb, your body hasn’t adjusted to the heat yet. Whether a native or an out of state visitor, the hotter temps can creep up on you and lead to a dangerous and potentially deadly situation.

We spoke with hikers at Sabino Canyon about what they do to stay safe.

“Preparing for hiking in this climate, because I’m from the northern part of New York state, what surprised me was how much water I had to drink,” Joe Giovenco said.

Damon Gerstein says he, “Drank a lot of water and took a break.”

“It’s good to take a break and look around instead of always going and dehydrating yourself,” he said.

It’s also important to pick the right time of day to go hiking and pack a bag with things you’ll need like sun protection, a fully charged phone, and sturdy shoes.

“Before we came here today, the first thing we did was check the weather. The next thing was we decided what time we were going to come here because you know the temperature can change drastically during the day,” Giovenco said.

SARA says when people need help, sometimes they wait too long to call. Their response time is anywhere from 30 minute to an hour to go to the trail head.

“If you feel like you’re in distress, call for help. Our services are free and the last thing we want folks to do is think is, ‘if I have to pay for this, I better keep going and try to get myself out,’ and get in more trouble,” Perchorowicz said.

Volunteers also recommends against hiking alone. But if you do hike alone, make sure you tell someone where you will be and what time you will be back.

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