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Sedona Fire District Rescues Secret Canyon Hiker

Sedona AZ (June 5, 2017) – Shortly before 2:30 p.m. on June 4, 2017, Sedona Fire District (SFD) emergency crews from Fire Station #1 in west Sedona and Fire Station #4 in uptown Sedona responded to a Secret Canyon Trail, off Dry Creek Road, injured hiker report.

Once at the trailhead, SFD Battalion Chief Jayson Coil determined that the hiker had suffered a ground level fall approximately five hours earlier and had sustained serious injuries. Since the injured hiker was two plus miles from the trailhead, an air lift rescue was deemed best.

Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue was requested to assist with the operation, and its Ranger 58 helicopter from Phoenix was dispatched to the scene.

When Ranger 58 arrived, SFD Engineer Cooper Carr joined the team which “short hauled” the injured hiker to an established landing zone at a nearby golf course. The injured hiker was transported to Sedona Emergency Center by SFD ground ambulance. For pictures and a short video of the rescue, visit Facebook here.

Short haul is an emergency rescue tool meant to quickly remove an individual from a dangerous situation and or remote area to a safe location. Short haul involves a rescuer being lowered on a rope from a hovering helicopter to the victim below. After the rescuer rigs a harness to the patient or, if injuries warrant, secures the victim into a Stokes Litter Basket, the helicopter airlifts both rescuer and victim to safety.

Rescue helicopter

To complicate this rescue, at approximately 3:00 p.m., another rescue call was received for an injured hiker in the Cave Springs area of Oak Creek Canyon. Initially, rescue crews decided to initiate another short haul operation and a second DPS helicopter out of Kingman was dispatched. It was later determined that the patient would not require a short haul rescue, and the SFD crew rescued the Oak Creek Canyon hiker utilizing another method.

SFD has responded to thirteen hiking related rescues since March 1, 2017. These types of incidents are very labor intensive and time consuming. In many cases, these types of incidents involve multiple fire, EMS and law enforcement agencies.

SFD Engineer Cooper Carr offers the following tips to help keep your hike a safe and fun trip:

1. Always wear proper foot wear and clothing
2. Bring plenty of food and water
3. Carry a fully charged cell phone
4. Let someone know where you are going and the expected time of your return
5. Never hike alone.

Use common sense when hiking the red rocks. Plan ahead for the perfect Sedona trail experience. (Photo SedonaEye.com exclusive)

The SedonaEye.com offers these additional tips:  It is wise to carry more water than you expect to consume, in case of delay or injury. Sunscreen is important in the desert and wearing hats or bandanas is always a good idea. And remember, never leave trash or food on the trail – repack and always carry both out – dispose of food and trash in proper waste bins. If you hike with animals that defecate, bag it and pack it out. If you poop, then scoop and do the same. The desert and red rocks are fragile ecosystems; respect them.

Local stores carry books and maps of red rock trails often with suggested tips for hiking adventures. A few stores offer personalized trail planning, and or names of trail guides and tours. Ask concierges for suggestions or use the Internet to plan your perfect Sedona area hike. And never leave without telling someone where you are going and when you plan to return; it’s hiking common sense 101.

Our red rocks, while beautiful, have claimed lives. Be safe, be wise, know your limitations and enjoy hiking and climbing our trails.

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