At 2pm Tuesday, a multitude of local agencies worked together to rescue a 72 year-old hiker on Granite Mountain. An off-duty Sedona firefighter was hiking on the Metate Trail with his children on Granite Mountain when he came across an unconscious male. The firefighter had cell reception and was able to notify authorities for assistance. An engine and the technical rescue support vehicle from Prescott Fire Department (PFD) responded as well as a Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority (CAFMA) engine. They hiked in to the patient along with members of the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) Backcountry team. YCSO launched their helicopter to evaluate to possibility of flying the patient off the mountain while the firefighters and backcountry members hiked in with the Stokes basket.
It was determined that hiking the patient would be better than attempting to fly him out, so crews stabilized the patient and packaged him in the Stokes basket. The hike out, while rocky and arduous at times, ended up being shorter than the hike in thanks to some assistance from the Forest Service. Members of the Forest Service brought PFD’s 6x6 off-highway vehicle from one of the fire stations a considerable distance up the trail. The patient, now stable and conscious, was transferred to the 6x6 and transported down the remainder of the trail to an awaiting Lifeline Ambulance unit. The man was thoroughly evaluated and ultimately ended up refusing transport to the hospital.
This rescue demonstrated the great working relationship between local first responders. Six different agencies were represented along with the Regional Dispatch Center’s facilitation of communications in an effort to rescue the patient. No responders were injured during the rescue and the event had a positive outcome.
First responders would like to remind hikers to take some of the following precautions when hiking. Bring adequate water, wear appropriate attire, and carry a charged cell phone. Hikers should make a friend or family aware of the route to be taken and the anticipated return time. Hikers should also consider hiking in groups so members of the group can help out in the event of an emergency.