Emergency Services is one of the three primary missions of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). This mission has two main components, Search & Rescue and Disaster Relief. Other areas where CAP is used is:
Humanitarian missions, usually in support of the Red Cross-transporting time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not available, and
Air Force Support, missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys. CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets. Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions.
Search and Rescue
CAP performs Search & Rescue (SAR) missions for lost/missing aircraft and missing persons. The U.S. Air Force has the primary federal responsibility for inland search & rescue in the United States directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base Fl. Most of these missions are to find missing and overdue aircraft or respond to activated aircraft Emergency Location Transmitters (ELT). CAP is the primary asset that the Air Force uses for these missions, accounting for around 85% of them. CAP also supports state and local government requests for assistance on missing person cases, especially in wilderness areas.
CAP specializes in airborne searches but also deploys trained ground search teams and incident management personnel and equipment. The Lynchburg Squadron has personnel trained and qualified to perform both air and ground searches and continues to train additional personnel and build/refresh SAR skills.
CAP supports federal and state agencies in responding to disasters of all types. CAP can conduct aerial damage assessments, aerial transportation of critical personnel and supplies, provide communications including airborne repeaters, provide ground search teams, and provide incident base support personnel and equipment. CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The primary purpose of CAP communications is to provide internal communications capabilities; to provide commanders with the means to conduct the missions of CAP both during normal conditions and when commercial infrastructure is unavailable or unsuitable. The CAP communications system provides a continuity of operations capability when commercial infrastructure fails, such as allowing commanders, at each echelon, the ability to communicate with superior and subordinate commanders. In addition, the CAP communications system may also provide third-party support to “customer” agencies where it does not conflict with the primary purpose. All message traffic must be of, or pertaining to, the business of Civil Air Patrol or its customer agencies.
The Communications Program:
1) supports Homeland Security, search and rescue, emergency preparedness, disaster relief and other operational missions; augments existing communications services in the event of actual natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other manmade disasters; and supports the U.S. Air Force.
2) provides messages on CAP aircraft movements, aircraft landings, and other information related to the safety of lives and property.
3) provides familiarization and practice courses in CAP radio communications procedures and demonstrates techniques of air-to-ground, point-to-point and network operations. Some of this training is prerequisite for tasks and accomplishments in the Emergency Services program.