Fire department aids Cedar Creek, Three Sisters hikers

By Karen Brainard

Ramona Fire Department/Cal Fire assisted six hikers from the Cedar Creek Falls and Three Sister Falls trails during the month of July. Three of those calls were at the end of the month, said Fire Apparatus Engineer Thomas Shoots at Station 81 in San Diego Country Estates, which is the closest station to the trails.

Around 6 p.m. on July 29, a 24-year-old female was experiencing heat-related symptoms near Three Sister Falls and was flown by a Cal Fire helicopter to Ramona’s Station 80 as Station 81 was on a call, Shoots said. She declined transportation to the hospital, he said.

The sheriff’s ASTREA 3 helicopter rescued a male hiker near Three Sisters Falls around 8 p.m. July 28 and took him to Station 81. Because Station 81’s medic unit was on call, Barona’s Medic 27, under the mutual aid agreement, aided the hiker suffering from heat exhaustion and took him to Grossmont Hospital, Shoots reported.

On July 27 at 4:40 p.m., ASTREA 1 dropped off a female hiker who was picked up at Cedar Creek Falls, experiencing heat-related symptoms. She declined transportation to the hospital, according to Station 81.

A male minor exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion about a quarter mile from the top of Cedar Creek Falls Trail was walked out by Cal Fire and U.S. Forest Service crews on July 12. Station 81 transported him to Grossmont Hospital, reported the fire department.

Two 19-year-old female hikers were airlifted from the Cedar Creek Falls trail July 8 between 2 and 3 p.m. due to dehydration, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The hikers were heading back from the falls and were about 1-1/2 miles from the top of the trail, said Deputy John West.

“She was pretty dehydrated and kind of in and out of consciousness,” West said of one of the hikers.

Station 81 aided the females but said they were not taken to the hospital.

On July 4, Station 81 responded to a hiker suffering heat exhaustion who was able to walk out of the Cedar Creek Falls Trails area, said Shoots.

When receiving distressed hikers at the station, Shoots said the medics receive information from the helicopter responders and put the patient in an ambulance to do a full screening. They check to make sure all vitals are stable and recommend transportation to the hospital. Some who decline have a family member take them to the hospital, he noted.

Although the hikers bring water, often it is not enough and they “generally are unprepared for the hike they’re doing,” said Shoots. While they may find the hike down easy, the hike back is all uphill and often in the hottest part of the day, he added.

The forest service cautions that summer temperatures in that area frequently exceed 115 degrees and advises hikers to bring a minimum of one gallon of water per person to avoid dehydration and heat-related illness.

   
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