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Yuma Sector’s Border Safety Initiative: Extreme Heat Precautions

Release Date: 
June 7, 2018

YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Sector Border Patrol has placed their Border Search, Trauma, and Rescue Unit on high alert as temperatures rise in its harsh desert terrain.  Persons considering crossing the U.S. border illegally should be aware that this decision is more than criminal, it could be deadly.

In 1998, the United States Border Patrol launched the Border Safety Initiative to increase safety for agents, the border community, and illegal border crossers during the summer months.  BORSTAR was created in response to the growing number of injuries to Border Patrol agents and migrant deaths along our nation’s borders.  BORSTAR plays a significant, concentrated role along the U.S. border in rescuing border crossers in distress and providing them with medical care and lifesaving aid.

In remote areas, it can take days or weeks of walking to reach any form of civilization.  In an effort to prevent loss of life, it is important for individuals to understand the hazards extreme heat presents to human life.

Rescues increase each summer as the U.S. Border Patrol conducts its federal law enforcement mission.  Apprehensions become life-saving endeavors for the agents responding to those in need, found in distress, contacting 911 or hitting one of numerous rescue beacons.

Technological advancements play a significant role in the coordination and successful completion of rescues.  There are currently 24 rescue beacons within the Yuma Sector area of responsibility.  The beacons are strategically placed throughout secluded areas of the Sonoran Desert to assist illegal immigrants in distress.  They are 25 feet tall, solar-powered towers with reflective devices and a blue strobe light on the top that is visible from more than eight miles away.  Once activated, agents are dispatched and easily able to locate the distressed travelers, provide first aid and save lives.

Although securing the border is Yuma Sector’s main objective, providing education to the public to prevent the loss of life is essential for the organization.

Heat illnesses and deaths are 100 percent preventable.  To prevent heat-related illnesses and fatalities, drink water every 15 minutes, regardless of thirst.  Rest in the shade to cool down, and keep living spaces cool.  Slow down and limit physical activity.  Wear a hat and lightweight, loose-fitting, light colored clothing.  Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.  Be prepared for power outages and have a well-equipped emergency supply kit.  Caution others about the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and their prevention.  Recognize heat-related illnesses and the warning signs and call 911 in the case of an emergency.

Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents effectively combat smuggling organizations attempting to illegally transport people and contraband through southwestern Arizona and California.  Citizens can help the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling 1-866-999-8727 toll-free to report suspicious activity.  Callers can remain anonymous.

Last modified: 
June 8, 2018