Agency Ready To Respond If Needed
As Hurricane Gustav moves closer to the Gulf Coast of the
United States, Civil Air Patrol members are making preparations to
safeguard CAP assets and preparing to respond to requests for
assistance after the storm makes landfall.
Gustav is forecast to enter the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, and
it could impact the gulf states by early next week. The storm is
projected to move in a northwesterly direction, though it is too
early to tell specifically where landfall will occur.
According to CAP’s national commander, Maj. Gen. Amy S.
Courter, the all-volunteer organization is prepared. CAP’s
National Operations Center has issued an alert order for wings in
the organization’s Southeast and Southwest regions to update
resource lists, aircraft lists and alert rosters, initiate
communications checks and test specialized assets as the storm
On Friday, CAP’s Texas and Mississippi wings were
relocating assets, including planes, vehicles and equipment owned
by the all-volunteer organization. The Alabama Wing was making
preparations as well.
"Alabama Wing has activated a mission command staff and is
identifying aircrew, ground team, urban direction finding (UDF)
team and mission staff members who are available for a one- or
two-week tour after the storm makes landfall," said Maj. John P.
Neil, director of operations for the wing.
"In the meantime, members there are making sure all equipment,
vehicles and aircraft are ready for a possible deployment," Neil
said, adding this includes making sure that 24-hour packs and
aircrew packs are stocked with fresh water, snacks and change of
clothing, all batteries are charged or there are fresh ones for the
radios, DF-units or GPS units, and the aircraft and vehicles are
Capt. Steven Solomon, director of public affairs for CAP’s
Southeast Region, said the organization’s Florida Wing also
is on the move, directing its Groups 1 and 2 RECON trained members
to be ready, if needed.
The preparations along the Gulf Coast are being made as CAP
encourages its 56,000 members nationwide to observe National
Preparedness Month (NPM) in September. The US Department of
Homeland Security annually sponsors National Preparedness Month as
a nationwide effort to encourage Americans to take simple steps to
prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools.
Throughout the month, the Department of Homeland Security will work
with Civil Air Patrol and other organizations to highlight the
importance of emergency preparedness planning.
According to Courter, CAP is a National Preparedness Month
coalition member, encouraging members and their communities to
participate in NPM’s Ready Campaign, which emphasizes four
main focus areas -- Get a kit; Make a plan; Be informed; and Get
"There are many opportunities to participate in National
Preparedness Month, and we encourage all members and their
communities to check out all the tools and ideas available," said