Peak holidays can bring more than 180,000 visitors to the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. The BLM’s El Centro Field Office is provides public safety for the thousands of off-highway vehicle enthusiasts as they tackle the sand dunes in this 40-mile long, five-mile wide area. Over the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday week, more than 140 emergency services and support staff from numerous agencies came together to ensure public safety.
In order to provide emergency services for these visitors, the BLM’s El Centro Field Office utilizes partnerships and cooperative agreements with other federal, state, and local agencies and organizations. These arrangements include bringing in additional law enforcement, emergency medical services and dispatch staff from other BLM field offices, and from other federal agencies from across the country — including the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service. All units were dispatched out of the Federal Interagency Communications Center in San Bernardino where dispatchers from different agencies work together to provide comprehensive dispatch service to units in the field.
With the close proximity of the recreation area to the US/Mexico international border, the U.S. Border Patrol was on hand providing assistance on medical aids, while still fulfilling their mission of border security. Further law enforcement assistance was provided by the Imperial County Sherriff’s Office and additional emergency medical assistance was provided by Reach Air Medical Services, Rural Metro and Gold Cross Ambulance Services, Pioneer’s Memorial Hospital, and El Centro Regional Medical Center.
“Regardless of the color of the truck or the patch on the sleeve, we must all work together for the common goal of providing public safety and emergency response for visitors to the Imperial Sand Dunes” says Kynan Barrios, Chief Law Enforcement Ranger for the BLM’s El Centro Field Office.
Margaret Goodro, El Centro Field Office Manager, says that “personnel from various agencies have come together to make the holidays safe for the visitors at the Imperial Sand Dunes”.