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Agents getting medical training
Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents were learning how to become temporary doctors during a life-saving training course being taught at the Yuma Station on Thursday.
The purpose of the training, according to J.J. Hinkle, education delivery coordinator for the Red Cross, is to train agents how to become first responder and treat someone who has been critically injured until more advanced medical care arrives.
"A lot of times Border Patrol agents are the first responders," said Boone Smith, special operation supervisor and Yuma BORSTAR rescue commander. "This training is important to be able to provide immediate medical care for people we encounter in the far-off areas we patrol."
The weeklong training is a partnership between the American Red Cross and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to strengthen agents’ emergency response capabilities as well as increase their safety while working in remote border areas.
Hinkle said Grand Canyon Chapter instructors will be training 600 Border Patrol agents in Red Cross Emergency Response throughout the year in Yuma.
Hinkle said when the agents complete the course, they will become certified first responders.
"We are teaching them first response and it's kind of a preparedness thing to teach them if you run into an emergency in the desert, this is what you do," Hinkle said. "It is a little more of an advanced first aid class then the normal class folks take. We go a little more in depth about some of the things they would run into."
Agent Paul Garofalo, who was going through the course, said he felt the training can be applied any type of emergency situation an agent would encounter and need to provide medical treatment at the scene.
"The area we work and patrol are sometimes vast distances from cities. Getting an ambulance into some of the places isn't always possible, so us learning this is going to be able to provide some care to injured people we come across."
Garofalo added whether it's treating a gunshot wound or dealing with a bad wreck, or someone who has suffered heat exhaustion, the goal of the training is to save lives.
The mission of the Red Cross is to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.
“Through this partnership we are providing agents with one more layer of protection as they focus on safeguarding our country,” said Craig Anderson, Grand Canyon Chapter health and safety director.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854.