Keeping safe in Palo Duro Canyon

Keeping safe in Palo Duro Canyon
Source: KFDA

Palo Duro Canyon (KFDA) - With good weather and Spring Break on the horizon, Palo Duro Canyon is ramping up for its busiest time of the year.

The park wants hikers to remember that even with fun, safety is always a top priority.

On Sunday night, first responders from several agencies worked together to rescue a hiker from the Rock Garden trail.

"Probably about 5:45, they got a call that one of our visitors had broken her leg up on the Rock Garden Trail, that's kind of lately been our problem trail," said Mark Hassell, Parks Resource Manager and Safety Officer at Palo Duro Canyon. "What I understand they were out here for quite a while probably until after 8 P.M. or so trying to get her off the trail."

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When a rescue call like that one comes in, agencies are ready for action.

"Captain Koch makes sure his truck is ready to go, which is our rescue truck," said Hunter Hamby, a firefighter at Randall County Fire Dept. "It has all our rescue equipment, harnesses, helmets, ropes and it also has a basket which has a wheel that goes on the basket so it makes it easier to carry people out of the Canyon."

If you are hiking Palo Duro Canyon, begin preparing the day before to minimize your risk of injury.

"Water, water, water. Don't come out here and start drinking water. You need to hydrate the day before," said Hassell.

"The main thing down at the Canyon is people getting dehydrated. Make sure you take a map with you. Don't get off the trail," said Hamby.
"I know we got a big canyon and people like to roam through it, but if they'll still on the trails we can find you a lot easier in case something does happen," said Hassell. "We can find you a lot easier if you're on one of the trails then if you're half a mile off of it somewhere in the middle of nowhere."

The recent rescue showcased the importance of teamwork between everyone on scene.

"They're all kind of trained on the high angle rescues and what not, so it really helps to have good neighbors," said Hassell.

"The more everybody understands terminology and being able to just communicate it makes it go better and easier," said Hamby. "We get out there a lot faster, so we can get the people medical attention at the hospital."

The park says that sometimes cell coverage can be an issue at the canyon.

If you do get injured, dial 911 and 911 will alert the park of your location and needs.

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