TUCSON, Ariz. – As temperatures continue to climb, Tucson Sector Border Patrol officials want to remind the public that summers here are an especially dangerous time to be stranded in Arizona’s deserts.
At this time of year, the Tucson Sector reassigns agents and resources from across the sector to those areas known for an increase in the number of people who will need to be rescued; especially migrants entering the U.S. illegally south of Ajo, Arizona.
Border Patrol officials are encouraging anyone in distress to call 911, or activate a rescue beacon, before becoming a casualty.
Tucson Sector maintains 34 rescue beacons. Activating a beacon initiates an immediate response from the Border Patrol, and the nearest agent will go to that location to render aid. Seven rescue beacons are equipped with a satellite phone in areas where there is no cell phone reception.
It is physically impossible for the average person to carry sufficient water to avoid life-threatening dehydration during the course of several days in the desert. In addition, a lack of infrastructure in remote areas make it impossible to quickly find help in an emergency. As a result, Border Patrol agents often encounter migrants unprepared to trek across the desert.
Although Tucson Sector employs more than 200 Emergency Medical Technicians and more than 25 paramedics, there’s no guarantee that someone stranded in a remote area, for whatever reason, will be found in time to prevent the loss of life.
As an additional deterrent, the Border Patrol advises that individuals arrested crossing the border illegally in this identified high-risk area, will be presented for prosecution. Arizona’s desert shows no mercy for those unprepared for its remote, harsh terrain and unpredictable weather.
Border Patrol agents welcome assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free. Contacting the Border Patrol to report illicit activity could result in saving someone’s life.