Scottsdale firefighters say having hikers who know CPR can save lives

Posted at 6:31 PM, Jan 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 21:33:58-05

This time of year, the Valley has perfect weather for a hike. But when you're out in the wilderness, you may be a long way from help.

Before hitting the hiking trails, there's a number of things you should bring to be prepared.

"We do bring water for ourselves and for the dog, and usually a few granola bars," said hiker Pete Dobrozdravic, listing a few items he brings.

But there may be something else you may not have thought could come in handy.

In Scottsdale, firefighters with station 610 are busy day in and day out with technical rescues.

"We're running now more often is actual injuries on the trail; so people fall, get hurt, can't continue, or [suffer] medical problems up to and including cardiac arrest,” said Rick Bucher, a firefighter with the Scottsdale Fire Department.

That's why out on Scottsdale trails, hundreds of park rangers and volunteers get training about twice a year on basic first aid and hands-only CPR.

"Personally, I've had a fatality on a hike in 1992, which kind of spurred me to want to be more trained in the medical field,” said Yvonne Massman, natural resources coordinator with the City of Scottsdale.

Every second counts in those emergencies. That’s what Lori Schmidt with the Scottsdale Fire Department teaches when she trains volunteers and park rangers on hands-only CPR.

"In a cardiac arrest, the heart is not doing what it's supposed to, which ultimately is pushing blood up to the brain,” Schmidt said.

Knowing what to do in the critical moments before first responders arrive could be the difference between life and death.

"Having bystanders trained in hands-only CPR can bridge that gap between calling 911 and us showing up,” Bucher said.

Firefighters remind hikers, if it takes you an hour to walk out on a trail or up a mountain, it may take them that long, as well, to get to you.