Hiking is a preferred activity for people around the valley, however climbing the trails does come with some risk.
More than 200 people are rescued from Arizona’s Desert Mountain Parks every year. The Phoenix Fire Department and Parks Department teamed up on Thursday to put on the Take a Hike Get it Right Event, which seeks to spread awareness on the responsible way to visit the valley’s trailheads.
“For us getting the word out, even though the summer time is where we see less people on the mountain, it’s a more crucial time for us in terms of the dangers of hiking,” said Larry Subervi, a Captain for the Phoenix Fire Department.
“Unfortunately, people will hurt themselves,” said Mark Sirota, Park Ranger for the City of Phoenix. “They’ll break a leg, sprain an ankle, those unfortunate actions will occur.”
Fortunately for those people, there are tips to staying safe out on those trails.
“Making sure they have plenty of water with them and it’s always safe to hike in groups,” said Subervi. “Stay on the trailheads, a lot of times when we see somebody in trouble, it’s someone that’s gotten off trail, by themselves and there is no one there to find them.”
Thankfully, the Fire Department has created a quick way to receive immediate help.
“Stay put, get on their cell phone, we encourage people to bring cell phones,” said Sirota. “If they call 911, it creates an automatic ping with the fire department, and the fire department will be able to come to them immediately.”
And hikers shouldn’t underestimate how taxing hiking can truly be.
“One of the important things really is people understanding their own personal limitations,” said Subervi. “Not feeling pressured to go on a hike that’s outside their limitations, and communicating that, being honest with yourself in terms of what your capability is.”
“That’s part of the pre planning,” said Sirota. “To know the trails before you go and select the proper trail.”