Phoenix metro area 'Take a hike. Do it right' campaign stresses safety

As temperatures rise, so do the number of calls for mountain rescues. So to inform people about the safety measures to take when hiking during hot weather, Valley firefighters started the "Take a hike. Do it right" campaign to stress safety.

"If you're going to go hiking, we want to make sure you're doing it right," said Captain Ashley Losch with the Glendale Fire Department.

The Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale and Phoenix Fire Departments all saw multiple rescues last week, which is why they are launching the campaign.

"It’s real imperative that you hydrate before, during and after your hike and pick that cooler part of the day," said Capt. Todd Keller with Phoenix Fire. "Maybe early in the morning and maybe later at night."

Firefighters say the biggest items to watch for are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

"Mountain rescues are difficult any time of year but with the added stress of 110+ degree days, they can turn deadly. While we want residents to enjoy all of the beautiful hiking trails across the valley, we want them to have the tools and education to do it right. teach hikers how to #hikeright," stated officials.

"Take a hike. Do it right" sign in Phoenix. (file) (City of Phoenix)

A few other tips:

  • Stay on the trail.
  • Hike with a friend.
  • If you're hiking alone, tell someone where you're going.
  • Don't forget your cell phone.

"A lot of times on our mountain rescues you have cell service, and you talk to the dispatchers," Keller said.

The high temperatures not only affect us, but also our furry friends. 

"Think about not bringing the pets out, but if you are going to hike with a pet, think about shoes for them, protecting their paws, and know the signs and symptoms if they're getting overheated. Make sure you have enough water for yourself and for them," said Captain Ashley Losch of the Glendale Fire Department.

Dogs are prohibited on all City of Phoenix hiking trails when the temperature is 100°F or warmer. 

Officials also suggest keeping your pets at home, even after a monsoon. They say it's harder for them to cool off when it's humid.

Take a Hike. Do it Right campaign:

More heat resources:

Heat relief stations:

You can always check the latest weather conditions by visiting the FOX 10 Phoenix weather page, or download the Free FOX 10 Weather app, which is available on Apple iOS and Android.

Satellite and radar image


Preventing heat exhaustion/heat stroke

The Arizona Department of Health Services stated the following precautions can be taken to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings
  • Limit outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day (mid-day)
  • Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors at least twice a day
  • Drink water before, during, and after working or exercising outside


Road Conditions

  • Call 511 anywhere in Arizona or 1-888-411-ROAD (7623)


Driving in extreme temperatures

The Arizona Department of Transportation’s tips for driving in extreme temperatures include: 

Have sun protection: In addition to an umbrella, take sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat and wear loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothing.

Fuel up: Keep your tank at three-quarters full. Running out of gas, especially in a remote location, is dangerous in extreme heat.

Hydrate: Take a cooler to keep extra drinking water cold, and consider adding several frozen bottles of water to use for cooling off or to thaw and drink if needed. Make sure everyone, including pets, stays hydrated.

Get help: If your vehicle breaks down in extreme heat, call for assistance right away to reduce wait time, and run the AC. If the AC isn’t working, roll down all windows.

Wait safely: If the temperature inside your vehicle becomes too hot, everyone, including pets, should exit carefully and seek out or create a shaded area as far away from the travel lanes as possible. Be careful walking on the road surface, which can be hot enough to burn skin. Keep your shoes on and try to keep your pets’ paws off the pavement. If you are stopped along the highway, raise the front hood and turn on hazard lights. Please keep in mind that parking in tall brush can start a fire. 

Check your vehicle: You can help avoid breakdowns and blowouts by making sure your vehicle is in good operating condition. Check your air conditioner and coolant levels, top off any vital engine fluids and make sure your battery is up to par. Check your tire pressure, as the combination of under inflated tires and hot pavement can lead to a blowout.


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