PHOENIX — Maricopa County just announced its first heat-related death of the year. It comes as the county released its 2020 heat report, noting 323 people died of heat-related deaths last year.
That is a 62% increase year over year and marks the highest death toll since tracking began 20 years ago.
So, hikers, golfers and other outdoor adventurers, if you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times, make sure to pre-hydrate. If you are feeling thirsty, you are likely already facing some degree of dehydration.
Roger Yensen, who is with Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association, said, “Drinking eight ounces every 30 minutes in the evening for two to three hours kind of helps pre-hydrate our bodies before we go out and expose ourselves. And making sure that we’re drinking plenty of water throughout that activity when it is high heat.”
Heat Safety Tips
- Drink water throughout the activity
- Wear proper clothing and shoes
- Bring fully charged cell phone
- Avoid the middle of the day
- Watch out for your neighbor
- No pets on trails when temps above 100 degrees
You'll also want to avoid the trails during the middle of the day. No matter how fit you are, no matter how experienced you are, State 48’s heat can get the best of you.
Dr. Ann Burn, who is with St. Joseph's hospital said, “I definitely recommend early in the morning instead of late at night, because late at night when the sun has gone down is def better than midday, but late at night you still have that radiant heat from the ground and from the rocks.”
To put an exclamation point on all this, local fire departments stopped by Papago Park. In addition to stressing the importance of wearing proper clothing and shoes as well as having a charged cell phone when enjoying Arizona outdoors, they gave instructions on how to offer first aid if someone is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Note, in both cases, you should call 911 immediately.
Scottsdale Fire Department Lieutenant Chief Mark DeBruyckere said, “The person might have symptoms of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, just not feeling well. you have to get that person into the shade. you got to loosen their clothing. you got to get their feet raised up. start giving them sips of water.”
Last but not least, our four-legged friends should not be on trails when it is 100 degrees and above. And when in phoenix, not only are you jeopardizing your dog’s health, it is against the law.
Arizona has seen its fair share of severe weather. Here is a compilation of videos from various storms across the Grand Canyon state.