Public Affairs Officer 2nd Lt. Dennis Maloney reported to Historic City News in St Augustine that members of Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron 173 recently participated in a safety stand down at the Northeast Florida Regional Airport.
The stand down was ordered by Florida Wing Commander Colonel Michael Cook in order to test the operational capabilities of squadrons throughout the state and to determine their readiness to perform the emergency services mission of the Civil Air Patrol.
A stand down is a temporary cessation from the normal routine to look at and focus on a certain subject. In this case, it was safety. St Augustine Civil Air Patrol was highly prepared to participate in the safety stand down.
“We practice events like this throughout the year, so we are always ready to respond to requests from various agencies whenever they call for help,” explained Squadron Commander for the local Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron, Captain Ralph Aviles. “It might be the Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency or the local Sheriff’s Office; whoever needs us, we are ready.”
Senior Member and Emergency Services Officer Al Uy led the squadron members through a “casualty collection points” exercise that involved identifying victims that might be encountered in an emergency.
The squadron also participated in a building marking and search exercise using the same guidelines established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The stand down concluded with a review of aircraft handling procedures — another important function that the squadron might face in an emergency.
Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years.