As Hurricane Isaac continues to push through the Gulf Coast, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has assets on the ground ready to mobilize the minute the storm dies out.
CBP activated its Lead Field Coordinator construct and subsequently stood up an incident command post in Hammond, La.
"The priority is employee accountability and the safety of their families," said Region VI Lead Field Coordinator Rosendo Hinojosa, Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent. "I was glad to hear the report from the incident commander that all CBP employees and their families have been accounted for."
While the storm continues to push through, the assets in the impact area will remain in place until an opportunity opens to begin their assessment.
"Once the storm pushes through, our focus will not only include employee accountability and safety but business resumption activities as well as supporting requests from FEMA," Hinojosa said.
Thus far eight CBP employees have deployed to support Emergency Support Function 13 Force Protection and Security Support for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
With heavy winds and flooding, power outages were expected. However the agency and the employees in the impact area are prepared, due to generators purchased ahead of the storm.
"Though we are prepared to deliver generators to ensure we can resume operations quickly, the incident commander informed me that there could be sufficient numbers already on the ground," Hinojosa said. "He won't have a complete picture until after the storm, and if the assessment changes, we have the generators and other supplies ready to go."
Road closures, downed cell phone towers, and power outages make it difficult for those in the impact area to communicate and maneuver but as soon as the storm breaks, CBP assets on the ground will mobilize under the direction of the incident commander and provide an updated assessment.
"Everybody talks about the importance of integration and CBP's best example of integration can be seen at the incident command level," Hinojosa said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.