North Van firefighters respond to six trail rescue calls

Unprepared hikers lead to busy BC Day weekend

North Vancouver firefighters are reminding the public to be prepared before hiking into the backcountry after taking part in six separate rescues over the B.C. Day long weekend.

“A lot of people are caught off guard by the extensive, complicated terrain we have on the North Shore,” said assistant fire chief David Dales of District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.

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Two of the rescues involved hikers who became dehydrated in the heat, said Dales.

“It’s hot out,” he said. “You need to plan properly based on the elevated temperatures. You have to bring enough water.”

The long weekend rescues began Saturday morning on Mount Seymour when a local mountain biker in his 30s broke his collarbone while attempting a double black diamond trail. A dozen firefighters hiked up the trail and retrieved the injured man with a basket stretcher, then hiked the stretcher down to a waiting ambulance, said Dales.

Shortly afterwards, just before 12:30 p.m., firefighters were called to the Baden Powell Trail in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, where a tourist in her 50s had a seizure on the trail due to an underlying medical condition. Firefighters walked her out to waiting paramedics.

On Sunday around noon, firefighters with a basket stretcher were called to the Dog Mountain Trail on Mount Seymour after a Vancouver man in his 20s fractured his ankle. Improper footwear was a factor, said Dales.

Later that evening, just before 7 p.m., firefighters found themselves hiking down the Grouse Grind to the three-quarter mark, where a woman in her 30s was suffering severe dehydration and exhaustion. “She’d been on the Grind for three hours at that point,” said Dales. Firefighters gave her some food, fluids and oxygen and then helped her to get up to the top of the trail.

A similar report of a hiker suffering severe dehydration came in on Monday as well – this time sending firefighters to Mystery Lake on Mount Seymour, where a Vancouver woman in her 20s had collapsed. Firefighters used their four-wheel-drive trucks to get close to the site via service roads, then carried her back out.

The final call of the weekend came at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning when a Coquitlam woman in her 20s intending to go fishing slipped down a steep bank and landed on a cliff band above the Capilano River. Firefighters used “multiple ropes and harnesses” to hoist the woman back up.

Dales said the calls this weekend point to the need for people to pay attention to the “three Ts – trip planning, training and taking the essentials.”

In most of the incidents, “people had done two out of three but not the full three,” he said.


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