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Sedona Emergency Responders Busy Holiday Weekend

Sedona AZ (May 30, 2017)The Memorial Day weekend in Sedona proved to be a busy one for emergency responders. Over the long holiday weekend, Sedona Fire District crews responded to three back country rescues, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle in Oak Creek Canyon and, during a particularly busy period, SFD answered ten emergency calls in less than three hours.

The holiday began on Friday as Sedona Fire District crews responded to a back country rescue call about a hiker with a broken ankle. Saturday brought with it two more back country rescues, one for a hiker with a broken ankle and another for a hiker suffering from exhaustion and dehydration.

Midgley Bridge on SR 89A north of Sedona city limits in Oak Creek Canyon

Sedona Fire Marshal Jon Davis stressed the importance of being prepared while hiking, “We continue to educate people about the importance of being prepared with water for hydration and protection from the elements. It is a very big deal and can be the difference between a safe fun hike and a tragedy.”

On Sunday shortly after 10:00 a.m., crews responded to ten emergency calls over the next couple hours. The first call during that surge of activity was a Midgley Bridge head-on collision. Multiple patients from that accident sustained injuries which required entry into the trauma system, with one patient transported via helicopter. Later in the day, further up the canyon, another accident involving a motorcycle sent two more patients to the trauma center.

Monday evening, a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle traveling nearly 40 miles per hour. The pedestrian, a woman in her mid twenties, was hit while walking along the road. Fire District paramedics stabilized her, then transferred her by helicopter to a Flagstaff hospital.

“Our stations and crews were busy this weekend, but we were able to meet the demand for services by stations traversing the district as calls came in,” explained Sedona Fire Chief Kris Kazian. “As an emergency services provider, the citizens expect us to be there for them when they call us. This means that we must adjust our staffing based on expected call volume, station locations, response times, and seasonal variations. Emergencies are not predictable.”

“It would be nice if we were able to schedule our days with some certainty, but due to the nature of the business that is not possible,” added Fire Marshal Davis.

Sedona Fire Chief Kris Kazian

The Fire District must make decisions based on historical data, but that is not always an accurate predictor of future needs.

“We know that our back country rescues increase this time of year, and we also know that they tend to be long duration, labor intensive operations,” said the Chief. “Additionally, we are seeing Sedona to be a very busy place and that equates to more incidents.”

The flurry of activity over a two and a half hour period on Sunday is a good example of that. While not unheard of, those types of bursts are becoming more common.

“We, as fire district managers must continue to balance the needs of the community when it comes to providing emergency service responses,” said Kazian. “We are always trying to find the perfect balance.”

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1 Comment

  1. Aileen Costa, Flagstaff says:

    Incredible work and sacrifices first responders, sad to hear about the bridge collision, maybe it needs to be closed during heavy traffic flows to one way only in or out of Sedona? That bridge has always had bad juju.

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