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Aid ready for injured duners
With several thousand four-wheelers, sand duners and off-roaders expected to do some recreating at the Imperial Sand Dunes this month, the U.S. Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) teams assigned to the area have an important message: “Be safe.”
The four-day Thanksgiving weekend has traditionally been seen as the big kickoff of the winter sand duning season and can draw as many as 100,000 or more visitors to the dunes.
And unfortunately, each year also sees dozens of those visitors requiring medical assistance because their fun in the sand got out of hand.
BORSTAR teams will be stationed throughout the dunes to ensure that medical assistance is quickly available whenever injuries occur. As many as 30 agents will be on duty over the weekend beginning daily at 7 a.m. and remaining until 2 a.m. through Saturday.
Each BORSTAR agent is a certified emergency medical technician. Four of the agents who will be on duty are also paramedics.
The BORSTAR teams will establish a command post near the Buttercup area and will patrol the area on all-terrain vehicles, sand rails and other vehicles capable of reaching injured persons almost anywhere in the dunes area.
While most of the BORSTAR agents assigned to the dunes work out of the Yuma Sector, eight are coming from other Border Patrol sectors around the country. The El Centro Sector, which incorporates the far western portion of the dunes, also will provide agents.
“We see everything from scrapes and bruises to broken bones,” said Richard Ramirez, the supervisory Border Patrol agent who runs the BORSTAR rescue teams.
Three people have died from injuries suffered at the dunes so far this season, according to BORSTAR. Alcohol is suspected as a contributing cause in at least two of the deaths.
“We advise everyone to have all the fun they can at the dunes, but be prudent. Know your equipment, bring plenty of water and be safe,” Ramirez said.
Additional agents will be on patrol at the international border ensuring that visitors stay more than 100 feet from the border fence.