Rescue crews urge hikers to have a cellphone in case of emergencies

Rescue crews urge hikers to have a cellphone in case of emergencies
Rescue crews urge hikers to have a cellphone in case of emergencies

Rescue crews say something as simple as a charged cellphone can be the difference between a rescue and a recovery.

Search and rescue always seem to be a busy line of work in Arizona. It's a line of work that becomes decidedly more challenging as the temperatures get hotter.

"You just have to come prepared with water and cellphones and look after one another," said Chris Kenyon, who was hiking with his daughter.

"Cellphones are making a huge difference, especially for search and rescue," said Sgt. Doug Peoble with Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

In addition to plenty of water, good footwear, a little common sense and telling somebody where you're going, the experts say the most valuable thing hikers can carry with them is a cellphone, which allows people to report problems and rescue crews pinpoint exact locations. However, in a world of selfies and Instagram, the experts caution a cellphone doesn't work if the battery is dead.

"A lot of people like to use social media and they like to show off where they have been, what they've been doing, what they have been up to and that's great but a big portion of that is to remember to save a little of that battery life for yourself just in case something bad happens," said Peoble.

Peoble recommends the 50-percent rule when it comes to hiking in our scorching heat and the rest of the year as well.

"We live off the 50-percent rule when it comes down to carrying water. Once you are about 50 percent, you need to turn around and come back. Same goes for cellphones, once you get to the 50 percentile (sic), stop using, reserve, call 911 if you need to," he said.

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