Botetourt Co. firefighters discuss recent trail rescue, offer tips for hikers

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 5:24 PM EDT
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BOTETOURT Co., Va. (WDBJ) - Hiking the Andy Layne portion of the Appalachian Trail is no small feat, according to Lt. Jon Rodgers with Botetourt Co. Fire and EMS: “The Andy Layne trail is one of the more difficult trails we have in the county. There’s a lot of stair steps, the elevation change is pretty severe.”

Add in the warmth of spring, and the weight of life-saving firefighter-paramedic gear, and it becomes quite a challenge.

“It made for quite the arduous hike for our members making access over two miles into the woods,” said Botetourt Fire and EMS Deputy Chief Jeff Powell.

Powell and Rodgers made that two-hour trek Tuesday to save an injured hiker near Tinker Cliffs.

“I prepared for the worst,” explained Rodgers. “I took in a ventilator and all sorts of drugs and stuff; that way we could take care of him up on the hill and then get him taken out.”

The hiker was flown via helicopter to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. His condition has not been released.

If you plan to hit the trails this spring and summer, the firefighters are offering some advice: “Never go out alone, always go out as a group and always have a plan. Be aware for the weather conditions, make sure you’re prepared, and don’t over extend it—make sure you stay within your limits,” said Powell.

Rodgers added: “Make sure you stay hydrated; that’s a big thing. Know where you’re going and how to get out, and make sure that you let people know that you’re going in and what time they should expect you to be out.”

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