New flier is last line of defense to protect hikers from heat illness

Updated: Jun. 16, 2017 at 9:17 AM MST
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(source: Tucson News Now)
(source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The next several days are First Alert Action days due to the heat.

Several different agencies teamed up in May for the Arizona Extreme Heat Planning Workshop. The event was an opportunity for those departments to discuss new ways to keep people safe during those extreme temperatures.

In Tucson, one of the new plays is to target people who hike.

Ken Drozd, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the majority of the heat-related injuries or deaths are seen in people who do outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day.

For people who plan to head out to hiking trails this summer, there is a good chance they will see a new flier.

Park officials will be passing them out to people before they start their hike. Officials said it is the last line of defense in preventing people from going out in these extreme temperatures. The effort is aimed at people who may be from out of town, and don't know how dangerous the Tucson heat can be.

"Last year we had several heat related fatalities in Pima County mainly during outdoor activities, recreational activities such as hiking," said Drozd. "We are hoping that folks who not only live here but are visiting us to stay safe."

Another new tool that came out of the workshop was a website the public can visit to explore the heat risk for the day. The goal is to educate people about the heat so they are prepared before they go out.

You can check it out here.

I'm told the heat affects everyone differently-- so this will show the heat-risk over the next several days.

The Arizona Department of Health Services revealed some shocking heat-related statistics.

In 2015, 83 people in Arizona died from the heat. Almost all the deaths happened in the summer months.

The heat sent nearly 1,500 people to the emergency room.

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