By R. Mitchell –
MIAMI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel across Florida are making final preparations—working closely with a far-reaching network of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) partners and local officials in advance of Hurricane Dorian.
CBP has activated Diane J. Sabatino, the Miami/Tampa Field Office Director of Operations, as the agency’s Lead Field Coordinator to manage the CBP Region IV Emergency Operation Center based in Greater Miami. CBP Region IV provides communications and coordination for all CBP surface, land and air assets in Region IV which includes Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands during major disasters and national emergencies.
During an emergency, CBP’s emergency response is conducted in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Response Framework.
CBP’s highest priorities during a hurricane are to promote life-saving and life-sustaining activities, the safe evacuation of people leaving the impacted area, the maintenance of public order, the prevention of the loss of property to the extent possible and the speedy recovery of the region.
CBP officers and agents join local, state, and federal partners during natural disasters and subsequent recovery efforts in maintaining an emergency operations center—supporting search and rescue services, recovery assessments, security, and relief efforts. CBP has a variety of resources that include personnel trained in aerial and urban search and rescue, advanced first aid, aviation assets with tracking and detection capabilities among many others that will be available to assist during a disaster response.
“Customs and Border Protection is ready to respond with resources and personnel as part of our mission to provide vital services to the trade community and traveling public, and to assist our federal, state and local partners with life-saving services, distribution and shelter security, and other essential FEMA response and recovery mission tasking,” said CBP Region IV Lead Field Coordinator Diane J. Sabatino. “Our foremost concern is for the safety of those in harm’s way, and our teams of front-line federal officers and agents are prepared to support response and recovery efforts with unique capabilities and resources.”
CBP remains in constant communication with travel and trade stakeholders during emergencies and conducts travel and trade facilitation operations as long as it is safe to do so.
CBP’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO) aircrews from the Miami Air and Marine Branch, Jacksonville Air and Marine Branch and National Air Security Operations Center – Jacksonville have deployed for a number of complex response and recovery efforts following destructive hurricanes over the last few years in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and the Carolinas. Air and Marine Operations transports vital supplies during humanitarian flights and actively supports relief operations and assessments.
CBP’s Office of Field Operations in Florida includes more than 2,500 front-line federal officers, agricultural specialists, trade and mission support personnel securing over 1,200 miles of the coastal border and providing travel and trade facilitation. U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) and Office of Field Operations (OFO) teams from Region IV deploy during major disasters providing specialized expertise, equipment—and helping those in need.
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