One year ago this month, Mayor Kiko Munro formed the elite unit called the Puerto Peñasco Tourist Assistance Unit, or TAU for short. In the course of just one year, these men and women have proven their value to our community many times over, in matters ranging all the way from giving directions to actually saving lives. With tourist season beginning, you can bet that these guys will be busy doing what they do best – helping and protecting people, acting as first responders to accidents on the beach, and overall working to make visits to our city as safe and fun as possible.

Successes tallied by the well selected and trained group of mostly young professionals that make up the TAU are mounting daily in diverse areas from first responders at accident sites to roadside assistance and much more. No matter where they help, their presence is a much appreciated addition to the city’s service corps.

You can find TAU agents on duty wherever there are tourists in our little slice of paradise by the sea, and we have no shortage of visitors, especially in the month of March. Recent figures from our convention and visitors’ bureau indicate 146.000 visitors flocked to Rocky Point during March 2016 (We will have our 2017 figures soon). That number included spring breakers from the southwestern U.S., who partied hardy on our beaches and favorite tourist hang outs. The students and their families were followed immediately by the onslaught of over 80,000 contented national visitors who pack Puerto Peñasco to the brim every Semana Santa (Easter week). They fill our beaches with joy and laughter into evenings. Mexican bandas play all day and night to keep the party going, in celebration of the Semana Santa holiday.

When you have thousands of revelers, you can count on hundreds of emergencies, major and minor, throughout our dream town. That’s where the TAU shined as first responders to over 95% of incidents involving accidents and other medical emergencies, according to Luis Molina, Director of the TAU force. The incident statistics fared well considering the number of visitors: Last March there were only 37 accidents, including quads, rhinos and automobiles, all from reckless, negligent and/or alcohol related causes that resulted in 47 injuries; 23 people were stung by rays or jelly fish; seven lost minors were all returned to their families; one rollover accident on the Peñasco-Caborca Highway, and there were no fatalities.

This is in addition to the plethora of other routine services the attentive TAU agents happily provide, whether it’s jump starting a Rhino out in the sand dunes or providing helpful information in the Malecon. Throughout the month of March, Molina had assigned eight patrols on the beach road from Playa Bonita to Cholla Bay accompanied by ample Red Cross and Fire Department ambulances.

The number of TAU Agents has gone up and down over the past year due to various factors. At the present time, Luis Molina is working to recruit new agents in order to fill the inevitable upcoming demand during the high season. The goal is to keep the number of Agents at around 20. Since the TAU is a local entity and currently does not receive State or Federal funding, finances are always tight. The TAU Advisory Committee, headed up by Jim Ringquist, is always looking for donations of equipment, medical and first aid supplies, UTV or ATV vehicles, or even specialized training from the grateful public that the TAU serves so well.

Having the right equipment and supplies can literally become a matter of life and death when the Agents respond to a serious accident with injuries. Please contact Jim if you can help. The committee will also be having a number of various fund raising activities over the course of the season, all of which will be announced on the TAU Facebook page and in upcoming articles.

The TAU has also opened a tourist information office in the midst of the Malecon, recruited 15 volunteer life guards concentrating on the crowded Hermosa and Mi Playa public beaches, and added quad patrols, the only vehicles legally allowed on the beaches of Puerto Peñasco.

After the crowds dissipate, following Semana Santa this year, Luis Molina is planning continued, more advanced training of the Tourist Assistance Unit agents in such subjects as English language, CPR, First Aid, Defense, and equipment maintenance.

The Tourist Assistance Unit is here to stay and will only grow in size and effectiveness, much to the glee of visitors and residents alike.

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