VENTURA, Calif. — Special agents assigned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Rapid Response Team deployed Thursday morning to aid in the ongoing search for the firefighter missing in the Los Padres National Forest since Friday.
The 11 HSI special agents arrived at the search command post for Thursday morning's initial briefing before being transported by chopper into the backcountry where the search effort is currently concentrated
HSI's Rapid Response Team (RRT) joined the multiagency effort at the request of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) Search and Rescue Team. HSI's RRT has trained alongside and collaborated closely with LASD rescue personnel in the past.
"This is what our agents drill for and they're gratified to be able to apply those skills in a real life situation," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of HSI Los Angeles. "Emergency response represents a key part of the Department of Homeland Security's mission and these teams are crucial to meeting those demands."
Members of HSI's RRT undergo rigorous training in a variety of survival and rescue skills, including low angle rope techniques and wilderness first aid. ICE's RRTs are operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The teams are always prepared to deploy to an affected area within 12 to 24 hours.