U.S. Border Patrol, Imperial County Public Health Department, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, California Highway Patrol, De Anza Rescue Unit Inc., Imperial County Sheriff’s Office and the Imperial County Fire Department all deal with Imperial County’s heat, which often remains above 100 degrees for weeks on end.
“It’s getting really hot now so we felt that a good idea would be to go and create some relationships with some of the other first responders in the county,” he said.
They already often work together in search-and-rescue situations anyway.
Heat-related rescues have gone down since 2009 with none so far this year for El Centro Border Patrol. The agency wants to discourage people in the States from putting friends or family in danger by having them smuggled across the desert where they are, at times, left to fend for themselves.
“If we can come out here and tell people it’s dangerous, don’t try to cross … hopefully the number of people who die in the desert and number of people we need to rescue will go down,” he said.
Ninety-nine heat-related emergencies and three deaths attributed to heat occurred in Imperial County last year, Imperial County Public Health Department Emergency Services Manager Cedric Cesena said.
There are 29 locations in Imperial County designated as cool center locations and are places throughout the Valley that people can go to if they don’t have access to air-conditioning. Call 760-482-4968 for information on the cool centers or visit www.ivpressonline.com for the full list in English and Spanish.
All the agencies underscored the importance of being prepared for unplanned instances of being in the heat.
“No one expects to get lost, break down or have a mishap,” reminded Michelle Puckett of the Bureau of Land Management.
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or email@example.com
General heat safety advice
Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats
Stay adequately hydrated and have at least 5 gallons of water per person/per day when traveling
If you go out in the heat, have someone with you or let others know where you’re going and when you’ll be back
Do not leave children and animals in vehicles unattended
Check vehicle fluids and air pressure before road trips and be aware of soft sand when stopping on the side of the road Keep cell phone charged
If stranded, do not leave the vehicle. It will make you harder to locate.