OUTDOORS & RECREATION

Search and rescue crews plead for backcountry hikers and climbers to be prepared for the heat

Jun 7, 2024, 5:21 PM | Updated: 7:02 pm

ST. GEORGE — Near record-level heat arrived in southern Utah earlier than usual, prompting safety warnings for people who want to go outside on Friday.

Sgt. Darrell Cashin with Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue said people in the cities and towns can get help pretty quickly. But, if a medical emergency happens in the backcountry, it could take a while for help to arrive.

“The people that are out there weren’t prepared for the heat and they are usually heat exhausted, have heat stroke, those types of calls. So they are pretty life-threatening,” Cashin said.

Extreme heat is leading cause of weather-related deaths; how to protect yourself

He said the number of calls is less than last year’s, but the office has already responded to 45 calls for assistance. Cashin said most of the calls could have been prevented if they were better prepared.

He explained that staying hydrated with water or drinks with electrolytes is critical when going outdoors.

“The biggest thing most of those people didn’t get is having enough hydration with them,” Cashin said.

The office also warns of areas with limited cell service and suggests getting a beacon or letting someone know where you are before you leave. You can learn more at the National Park Service website.

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Search and rescue crews plead for backcountry hikers and climbers to be prepared for the heat