July 11, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for San Diego County’s desert areas, cautioning that conditions “could be deadly” for unprepared campers or hikers.

That message comes too late for Lynn Thu Tran, 19, of Escondido. She was found unconscious with signs of heat stroke on the Julian side of Cedar Creek Falls at 5:30 p.m. on July 9. She was airlifted to Palomar Hospital but did not survive. According to the Medical Examiner, she died of hypothermia, conditions related to a heat stroke.

The Sheriff’s Department is reminding the public to take precautions during outdoor activities. Sheriff’s ASTREA has been called to rescue hikers repeatedly near Cedar Creek Falls, in addition to responding to the fatality.

On July 10 at 2:30 p.m., ASTREA responded to a call of two distressed hikers with a dog. The couple only needed water and was able to walk back on their own, but their dog needed rescue.

While transporting the dog, ASTREA was flagged by another group of hikers. The rescue crew found a 79-year-old man sitting against a rock complaining of weakness and dizziness. He was hoisted to an ambulance at a nearby CALFIRE station. The man and the dog will recover.

Since January of 2012, ASTREA has performed four rescues at Cedar Creek Falls. 20 rescues were made at Cedar Creek Falls from January to July of 2011.

No matter your level of health, anyone needs to be careful of the dangers of walking in the heat. Take it easy when temperatures are this hot. Move your exercise indoors or schedule any outdoor activity for early morning or evening to avoid the real heat of the day. It’s also important to remember your pets and ensure they are not over exposed to heat and have plenty of water.

Here are other safety tips from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit:

  •  Buddy up – Walk or exercise with a partner. It’s fun and it’s safer. If something happens along the way, you’ll have someone at your side to help.
  •  Phone home – Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Your cell phone could provide a necessary connection to emergency assistance.
  •  Drink up – stay hydrated before, during and after exercise
  •  Dress for the heat – wear lightweight, light-colored and breathable clothing. Bring a hat and sunglasses. Wear sunscreen.
  •  Take regular breaks – find some shade or a cool place to stop.
  •  Head inside – if the heat seems overwhelming, don’t sweat it.