Border Report

CBP rescue teams deploy to Florida, Southeast ahead of Hurricane Dorian

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), pilot Zoe Cunningham, 26, flies a helicopter patrol on March 15, 2017 in McAllen, Texas. Cunningham is one of only a few women flying as an air interdiction agent for CBP on the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Border officers are headed to Florida and other parts of the South as Hurricane Dorian comes dangerously close to the U.S. mainland.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) helicopter flies above the San Ysidro port of entry during a “large-scale operational readiness exercise” which briefly closed the border crossing on November 22, 2018 in Tijuana, Mexico. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is ready to launch rescue teams, including highly-trained teams of aircrews, immediately after Dorian passes.

According to a CBP news release, the Air and Marine Operations teams are from Tucson, Detroit and Puerto Rico, and are staging in Miami.

CBP has also strategically positioned other personnel and assets across parts of the Southeast. A U.S. Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue team, or BORSTAR, for example, is staged in the Florida Panhandle. Despite spending the past week preparing equipment and relocating assets, the BORSTAR team has spent months planning for the busy Atlantic hurricane season.

The agency’s efforts during Hurricane Dorian are being coordinated by CBP’s Emergency Operations Center at CBP Headquarters in Washington D.C.

“Highly trained U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel from Florida and across the region are preparing for Hurricane Dorian response efforts and ready to immediately deploy to impacted areas,” CBP Region IV Lead Field Coordinator Diane J. Sabatino said in a statement. “Our highest priority during a national emergency is the safety of people who are affected and we are committed to fulfilling our frontline responsibilities.”

CBP officers and agents provide support to local, state, and federal agency partners during natural disasters and during the subsequent rescue-and-recovery, relief and security efforts. Some of the personnel who will be contributing to those efforts include aerial and urban search-and-rescue, advanced First Aid, and aviation assets with tracking and detection capabilities.

CBP officials say the highest priorities during a hurricane are to promote life-saving and life-sustaining activities; the safe evacuation of people leaving the impacted area; the maintenance of public order; the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible; and the speedy recovery of the region.

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