On Monday, August 3, 2015, at approximately 1:40 PM, the Prescott Regional Communications Center received a call reporting a female in her 70’s was dehydrated, with an altered level of consciousness, on the Granite Basin Trail off Iron Springs Road.
An engine company from the Central Yavapai Fire District, an engine and support vehicle with members of Prescott Fire Departments Technical Rescue Team, 2 Chief Officers, a Life Line Ambulance, as well as the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the call (12 personnel). GPS coordinates we supplied to rescuers by using the reporting parties' cell phone location.
The first rescuers acted on the information obtained from the caller and began hiking in with Advanced Life Support equipment from the trailhead. Additional units set up a command post and worked to determine what would be the best way to extricate the patient from the area. An ATV from the Prescott Fire Department was dispatched, and personnel used the trail system in the area to try to access the patient. Patient contact was made after about an hour, and the patient was treated for dehydration utilizing IVs.
The area borders on a Prescott National Forest Wilderness area with limited access and is difficult to navigate. Once an access route was determined, the patient was transported, using the ATV, to a waiting ambulance. The patient was conscious and alert when loaded for transport to Yavapai Regional Medical Center for evaluation. A second hiker that was with the patient was also transported out by fire personnel as they were still about 2 miles from the main road. Emergency units were committed to this rescue for over three hours, and there were no additional injuries during the event.
The patient stated that she had not eaten properly prior to the hike and did not take enough water with her for the rigors of this particular trail and the temperature and humidity of the day.Local fire agencies have seen a marked increase in Technical Rescue calls in the last year. A good number of these calls dealt with the lack of food, water, maps, underestimating the difficulty and length of their planned trip, and difficulty determining their location. While accidents can happen even with good planning, a good number of these events could have been avoided through proper trip planning. Again, please make sure to prepare for your outside events though prior physical training, obtaining information from others about the potential difficulty of your hike, eating properly, bringing snacks and plenty of water, use a GPS and fully charged cell phone, and try to keep track of your location along the way, so if something does happen, you can assist responders with information that will help us access you as quickly as possible. And please remember, Arizona is a rural state, and a cell phone will not always work as your lifeline.