If you're planning on hiking one of El Paso's many mountain trails, you need know how to do so safely in order to avoid needing to be rescued by COMSAR.

The Combined Search and Rescue team has carried out 13 mountain rescues so far this year. They only did 17 in all of last year. The team consists of 40 members, including 10 from the El Paso Police Department and 30 from the Fire Department, and they train monthly to be ready for their rescues.

COMSAR says when they go out on a rescue they carry backpacks with helmets, gloves, harnesses, ice packs, medication, additional clothing and water to help the injured or lost hiker. They say you don't need to carry that type of equipment, but you should follow these rules:

Know your limitations. Plan ahead, know rules and regulations.
Always stay on the trail. Walking off-trail increases chances of getting lost, injured or encountering wildlife.
Carry cellphone for emergencies. Also carry flashlight, whistle, mirror, flag or flare to signal your location.
Take plenty of water, light snacks.
Use sun block, hats and clothing to shield from the sun.
Be aware of wildlife you may encounter.
Check weather conditions.

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