8 rescues in 1 week prompt search and rescue officials to issue warning about dehydration

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Division is advising people to bring extra water while outdoors, particularly given that crews completed eight rescues last week, with the majority of them being due to dehydration.

In this March 2018 file photo, Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue teams navigate steep cliffs during a rescue near Veyo, Utah, March 10, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, St. George News

On average, half of the search and rescue calls during June, July and August, the hottest months in Southern Utah, are due to dehydration from hikers getting lost or wandering off, said Sgt. Darrell Cashin, liaison for Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Division.

“How many times do people have to realize that it’s summer,” he said. “It’s hot.”

In one of the eight incidents, crews received a call around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday reporting a hiker who disappeared the day before on Little Creek Mountain near Apple Valley. After three hours of searching for the hiker, rescuers found him underneath a tree, semiconscious and delirious. It was 105 degrees that day, Cashin said, adding that the man went without water for almost 24 hours.

“If he was there another couple of hours,” Cashin said, “his body would have started shutting down. He wouldn’t have survived it.”

The man thought he was somewhere else in Utah, Cashin said, which can happen due to severe dehydration.

“This heat sucks the moisture out of you,” he said.

Stock image, St. George News

Other symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, weakness, fainting, inability to sweat and dry mouth. The saying that you can go without water for three days doesn’t apply in Southern Utah due to the heat, Cashin said.

There’s not a simple solution to not becoming dehydrated, he said, besides thinking it through. If someone is lost, it’s inevitable that he or she will run out of water.

Read more: Heat can kill, getting lost can be fatal; how to survive the heat, be found when you’re lost or in distress

Although there is no simple solution, Cashin said, it’s important to bring more water than you think you need.

“You don’t realize how much your body needs. Whatever you think you need, take double and then extra for emergencies.”

It’s also vital to hydrate the day before you go out hiking or camping, he said.

Take your cellphone and use its GPS, Cashin said. If you get lost, search crews can track you when you call 911. Once you call 911, he said, you need to stay put.

“We don’t want people to not go out,” he said. “We just want them to be well prepared.”

Email: mheckenliable@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • youcandoit June 18, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    This just happened to my son he was in another state. They put him in the behavior psych ward of the hospital. He’s had heat exhaustion before. Do not forget once you have it your chances of getting it again is higher. Please be careful

    • comments June 18, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      Blaming your son’s psych issues on “heat exhaustion”? Just find him a good psychiatrist and get him medicated. You’ll be glad you did.

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