Emergency Services Operations
Search and Rescue: Perhaps best known for its search and rescue efforts, CAP conducts more than 85 percent of all flight hours for inland SAR missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Langley AFB, Virginia. More than 100 lives are saved annually by CAP members.
Disaster Relief: CAP provides air and ground surveillance, transportation, damage assessment and an extensive communications network. CAP supports local, state and national disaster relief organizations with trained manpower and leadership. CAP has Memorandums of Understanding with many humanitarian relief agencies, including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Coast Guard.
Humanitarian Services: Closely related to disaster relief is CAP's support of humanitarian missions. Usually in support of the Red Cross, CAP air crews transport time-sensitive medical materials, including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not possible.
Air Force Support: It's hardly surprising that CAP performs several missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts damage assessment, radiological monitoring, light transport, communications support and low-level route surveys.
Equipment: CAP maintains a wide variety of equipment and trained operators. Each state and local units may differ slightly, but all units must comply with federal regulations and National CAP standards.
Aviation Assets: The CAP Corporation owns 535 light aircraft, primarily Cessna 172s and 182s. Additionally, CAP members own another 4,700 aircraft that can be used to support assigned missions. When all these assets are combined, CAP operates the world's largest fleet of civil aircraft and flies nearly 130,000 hours each year. Not to be overlooked are CAP pilots. One-third of all CAP members are FAA certified pilots. Mission pilots undergo specialized training and must pass a mission-specific checkride. The counterdrug mission is supported by airborne video and thermal imaging equipment.
Ground Assets: In addition to aircraft, the CAP Corporation owns 950 ground vehicles to conduct support for its missions. Many of these vehicles are equipped with sophisticated communications equipment that becomes invaluable during disasters or extended SAR missions. Members are equipped with appropriate field gear to operate autonomously for days at a time. CAP forces are deployable to virtually any general aviation airport. Cadet members are frequently used for ground search teams and mission base support. All CAP members, including cadets, must be qualified for the specialty in which they perform on actual missions.
Communication: CAP operates one of the largest communications systems in the country with more than 6,000 fixed land stations and more than 10,000 land and airmobile radios operated by more than 20,000 trained communicators. The CAP National Digital Radio Network (NDRN) has drawn particular interest from other organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has joined the network and included it in their emergency communications planning. The system doesn't rely on telephone lines and is highly survivable in the event of natural or man-made disasters. Because of its radio-based architecture, it is also extremely flexible and allows end users to plug into the system from anywhere within radio range of one of the 500-plus system nodes across the country.