/ Modified jun 24, 2016 8:40 p.m.

Desert Heat: Deaths, Rescuers and Ways to Stay Safe

4 people die in record 115-degree heat; how do Tucsonans cope?

When it's hot in Tucson, we collectively bemoan it, brag that we can stand it, or beat it to the movie theater to avoid it. Most of us, any way. Some went hiking, or did outdoor chores in the record heat on Father's Day, and it caused them trouble.

Four people died in incidents that began outside Sunday, four were rescued from hiking trails that day, and numerous others showed up at emergency rooms seeking help for heat-related illnesses.

The Tucson area temperature got to 115 degrees June 19. In that kind of heat, Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos said no one should be outside. As his crews searched for a missing hiker, on a trail that had already demanded one rescue, and on which one other person died, he pleaded with people to skip outdoor exercise.

In this episode of Metro Week, we explore the effects of the heat, and find out about those who spend their free time helping rescue those in trouble.

Sheriff Chris Nanos, of the Pima County Sheriff's Department, appeals to common sense and asks people to stay inside on record heat days. He explains how hard it is on law enforcement officials to be in the heat, searching by helicopter, horseback, and on foot to find those who need their help. Sunday's four simultaneous rescues stretched the department's resources, he says.

Michele Manos, Ph.D., of the Pima County Health Department, says temperatures are expected to stay high in the coming years, so Tucsonans will have to become more heat tolerant, and smarter about when, and how, they go outside.

Bill Kelleman, a member of the Southern Arizona Rescue Association, explains why he volunteers his time to save lives on trails in floods, heat, or snow, and how you can be a prepared hiker who doesn't need a rescue.

The journalists roundtable includes three who have covered heat-related rescues this week: Astrid Galván of the Associated Press, Paul Ingram of the TucsonSentinel.com, and Nancy Montoya of Arizona Public Media.

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