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SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Fire Department wants Utahns to make safety a priority during Labor Day weekend.
Already Friday morning, Salt Lake City Search and Rescue teams were sent out on a rescue call — risking their lives in a very rocky and steep area — for a situation that the rescue crew said was easily preventable.
The rescued hiker was alone, without proper gear, didn't know the area, and started his hike after dark: all things that rescue crews are asking hikers not to do.
As a result of poor planning, the man was stranded in the dark for hours while clinging to the side of a mountain, 200 feet above the ground.
Jasen Asay, spokesperson for the Salt Lake City Fire Department, said that it's always best and safest to hike in a group and to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. And in the past, the department has asked people to have a clear plan, stay on marked trails, and carry plenty of water.
"We are always happy to help people — that's our job, to provide service and protection to the community," Asay said.
Planning well for Labor Day weekend hikes can help defray the need for rescue services.
"There are some instances where we have resources pulled away from where they're really needed to go to other incidents where they're not needed as much," Asay said.
The fire department encourages Utahns to get out and enjoy what Utah has to offer, but they also ask that hikers both properly prepare and take care of smaller emergencies on their own when possible before calling for rescue.