Emergency Services

Civil Air Patrol's operations, defined by CAP's Congressionally chartered mission of emergency services, include air and ground search and rescue, disaster relief, counterdrug operations and an increasing role in homeland security.

Our members fly more than 90 percent of the inland search and rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, near Panama City, Fla. Civil Air Patrol flew more than 3,000 search and rescue missions and was credited with saving 72 lives in fiscal year 2009. And we do it all at great savings to the taxpayer, flying more cost-efficient aircraft with professionally trained volunteer crews at a rate of about $130 per hour!

CAP assists the U.S. Customs Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Forest Service in their counterdrug efforts. In 2005, CAP aircrews flew more than 12,000 hours in support of the nation's war on drugs and were credited with contributing to the confiscation of more than $400 million of illegal drugs.

CAP aircraft fly non-combat homeland security missions such as observance of critical infrastructure, airborne communications relay, and airlift of critical cargo. These missions are flown under the authority of the U.S. Northern Command, the joint command responsible for the continental United States. CAP receives tasking from the air component of Northern Command, which is First Air Force, also headquartered at Tyndall Air Force Base. Our aircrews also provide impact assessment, light transport, communications support and low-level route surveys for the Air Force.

Our middle name is 'air,' but...

The flying missions are only half the story.

We have the nation's most extensive radio communications network, using HF and VHF stations from fixed, mobile and aerial locations.

We have ground teams trained in search and rescue in all terrain and locations. We have transportation capabilities for training and mission support, including more than 1,100 vehicles. And we provide disaster relief support to local, state and national organizations.

Florida Wing members are no stranger to providing disaster relief support. During Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, we served at numerous locations across the region. More than 1,500 CAP members volunteered to provide support ranging from aircraft missions such as search and rescue, transportation of critical personnel and supplies, and aerial imagery of flood damaged areas for civil authorities to ground team missions such as house to house searching of neighborhoods and passing out emergency supplies. In total, CAP flew nearly 1,000 aircraft missions in support of the hurricane relief efforts.