Emergency Services

Emergency Services at the Grand Forks Composite Squadron involves operational mission training, qualification, and actual mission activities. CAP provides services to conduct search and rescue (SAR), disaster relief (DR), and other public assistance missions. Many missions are in support of persons in distress and our highest priority is to ensure missions are conducted competently, expeditiously, and in a professional manner.

Growing from its World War II experience, the Civil Air Patrol has continued to save lives and alleviate human suffering through a myriad of emergency-services and operational missions.

Search and Rescue                               
Perhaps best known for its search-and-rescue efforts, CAP flies more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Outside the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions? Nearly 100 people are saved each year by CAP members!

Disaster Relief                               
Another important service CAP performs is disaster-relief operations. CAP provides air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network. Volunteer members fly disaster-relief officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations. 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.

Humanitarian Services                           
CAP flies 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.

Air Force Support                           
CAP performs several missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts light transport, communications support, low-altitude route surveys and other Homeland Security related missions. CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets. Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions.

Air Operations:

Air search operations are broken into two phases, the preliminary search and the concentrated search. A preliminary search is accomplished during the early part of a mission when it is desirable to cover rapidly all of the territory in which the objective might be located. Aircraft are dispatched as quickly and safely as possible. Initial route searches should cover the likely route of flight, with emphasis on high mountain peaks, frozen lakes, and areas of severe weather at the time the objective was lost. Properly trained and equipped aircrews can accomplish a preliminary search at night.

If the objective is not located during the preliminary search, it is then necessary to conduct a concentrated search of the most probable areas. Determination of the concentrated search area requires careful analysis of all available information, including the flight plan, weather, terrain, pilot habits, etc.

Ground Operations:

Ground teams may be used in virtually all phases of a mission. Ground operations are governed by state and local laws as well as by CAP regulations and policies. Missions are frequently initiated during periods of adverse weather or other inopportune moments when air operations may be precluded or limited, for example, immediately following a storm or in the middle of the night. Ground teams can often be dispatched to gather information, search suspected high probability areas, search for missing persons, locate ELT transmissions, verify airborne sightings, etc.