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Firefighters offer ways to keep hikers, kids safe in heat

PHOENIX – Mountain rescues are keeping Phoenix firefighters busy.

They’ve responded to 117 calls for aid so far in 2012. That’s six more than at this same time last year.

The Valley is under a heat advisory until Friday evening. The Phoenix Fire Department said for anyone planning a hike to make sure they are ready for it by bringing plenty of water, food, a cell phone and a first aid kit.

“If you’re not prepared to be out…if you’re not hydrating, you don’t have the proper equipment, the proper stuff, you shouldn’t be on the mountain,” said Phoenix Fire Captain Jonathan Jacobs, adding that hikers should drink about a gallon of water before going out, and take 32 ounces with you for every hour they expect to be on the mountain.

Jacobs said the best time to hike is in the early morning or late afternoon. For those who opt for an evening hike, they should have the proper supplies, including a flashlight and glow sticks.

“We want people to enjoy our mountain trails,” Jacobs said. “But we don’t want people to get themselves in a jam. We don’t want them to have a bad something that they can’t recover from.”

Meanwhile, the heat advisory is hitting on the same day that many Valley students headed back to school. In this heat, just getting to school can take a lot out of kids.

“If they’re riding their bikes, or taking the bus to school, you lose a lot of fluids just by being in this environment,” said Jacobs.

There are things parents can do to help their kids deal with the heat.

“Just make sure that the kids are hydrated, that they’re eating properly and that they’re getting a good amount of sleep,” said Jacobs.

He said that during heat advisories, many schools cancel outdoor recess and keep the kids inside the gym or auditorium so that they can stay cool.

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