Emergency services are Civil Air Patrol’s most publicized activity.
The Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, performs 95 percent of the inland search and rescue missions tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center in the continental United States.
This center coordinates search and rescue efforts within the inland search and rescue region (the 48 contiguous states).
Civil Air Patrol strived to save lives and alleviate human suffering through a myriad of emergency services missions: Search and Rescue, Disaster Relief, Homeland Security and Humanitarian Services.
CAP volunteer members train regularly for air crew, ground team and other mission specialties needed in search and rescue and disaster relief efforts. Pilots, observers, scanners, radio communicators, operations, flight line, radiological monitoring, public affairs, logistics, supply, safety, administrative and other personnel all respond to thousands of missions annually.
During a recent five year period, Civil Air Patrol crews were involved in more than 5,500 search and rescue or other emergency services missions. In this same period, members were credited with having saved more than 425 lives and locating objects of their search nearly 2,500 times. These missions required more than 92,000 hours of flying time along with many more thousands of hours of ground team search activities by cadet and senior members.
CAP owns the largest civilian fleet of Cessnas in the world, over 500. Single engine, high-wing aircraft are ideal for the low altitude searches CAP often conducts.
In addition to air search missions, members also aid in transport of blood, donor organs and medications.
Disaster relief efforts
Disaster relief missions involve air surveillance of disaster areas, as well as air evacuation of the stranded, sick and injured. Rescue work and aid are provided during floods, hurricanes, blizzards, and other emergencies.
CAP, as well as members who fly their own aircraft on these missions, is reimbursed by the Air Force for fuel, oil, and communications expenses. The Air Force also provides maintenance costs for these and certain training missions.
Extensive radio network
CAP maintains a nationwide network of over 20,000 radio stations which provide invaluable backup to state and local civil defense and Air Force communications.
On a local level, these stations support state disaster plans and provide communications for CAP search and rescue and other disaster relief missions.
Civil Air Patrol has been a major contributor to our country’s critical Homeland Security efforts. CAP provides aerial reconnaissance, photography, radiological monitoring, disaster and damage assessment, and much, much more.
At the request of New York Governor George E. Pataki, on 12 September, 2001, CAP provided the first direct aerial perspective of the World Trade Center disaster site. More than 200 professionally trained CAP volunteers provided homeland security support during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. They flew 534 flying hours, providing airborne reconnaissance of critical infrastructure.
Civil Air Patrol aircrews across the nation are now flying missions in support Operation Liberty Shield. Taking photos of bridges, infrastructure and bay shipping areas and flying surveillance missions over Air Force Bases.