El Paso News

Border Patrol agents prepare for heat-related rescues

Border Patrol agents in the El Paso sector told KTSM they’re expecting to treat more heat-related illnesses as temperatures continue to rise.

Agents said they’re usually the first to respond to undocumented immigrants crossing illegally in need of medical assistance.

Agent Carlos Antunez told KTSM, “Sometimes they become ill. They've been out in the desert for a long time. They've been without water so we tend to see a lot of individuals that are in need of hydration."

Supervisor Richard Barragan said agents patrolling the border will render medical assistance regardless of someone’s immigration status.

"When those situations arise, we switch gears,” he said.

Since October 2017, El Paso Border Patrol agents have rescued 21 people around the desert.

According to Barragan, a certified EMT, agents learn basic first aid skills during their initial training. However, they’re able to learn additional techniques and become certified first responders, EMT’s or paramedics.

Agent Denisse Licon said, "It is very valuable from the personal perspective because you want to be there for a reason there for a cause and if it's for saving lives then I've accomplished my mission."

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