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Mesa Fire offers tips for hiking safely in the spring

PHOENIX -- Spring is the best time of year in the Valley to enjoy the great outdoors, but it's important to do so safely.

If you're going hiking this season, make sure to pack 100 ounces of water and start hydrating early.

"If you know you're going to be going out on a long hike as the weather's getting warmer, it's really time to start drinking water days in advance," said Larissa Dvorak with Mesa Fire. "[You need] to prepare your body for that exercise and the additional heat."

Be sure to also bring snacks, a basic first aid kit and definitely a cell phone.

"Most of our trails outside do have some cell phone service, so we want to make sure a cell phone is available to you at all times," Dvorak said. "And include the Poison Control number in your contacts."

Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when it comes to poisonous critters.

"If you notice one, it's better to just back up the way you came, very slowly, so that you don't make them anymore agitated and they don't tend to attack," Dvorak said.

If you do get bitten or stung, stay calm. If you start having a reaction, Dvorak said to call Poison Control first, then 911.

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