Main Content

Squadron's Crisis Communication Plan

Crisis Communications Plan


1. Purpose and need.  CAP Regulation 190-1 (16 Nov 2016) 7.1.3. requires every CAP unit to “develop a crisis communications plan to ensure a rapid and effective response during an emergency that may damage the organization’s reputation if mishandled.” 

2. Authority and responsibility.  This Crisis Communication Plan has been created in order to outline the mechanism by which the commander and other senior leaders within the Squadron, Wing, Region and at CAP NHQ may be provided with timely information, guidance, advice and support regarding internal and external communications and messaging strategies during emergency or crisis situations involving Civil Air Patrol personnel.

This plan augments, and does not supersede, the chain-of-command, Wing, Region or NHQ policies, Delegations of Authority, or Memorandums of Understanding.

3. Crisis Communications Team.   The following individuals are the standing members of this Squadron’s Crisis Communication Team:

  1. Squadron Commander
  2. Deputy Commander
  3. Public Affairs Officer or Public Information Officer
  4. Squadron NCO
  5. Squadron’s Senior Members
  6. Cadet Commander

This team may be augmented with other members from the Wing, Region, and CAP NHQ as appropriate to a given situation.

Current names, titles and contact information of the standing members of the Crisis Communication Team can be found in Appendix A of this document.  This appendix will be updated annually by Oct 31 and more frequently if necessary.

4. Goals and objectives.  The Crisis Communications Team is charged with developing and executing the release of information regarding any kind of non-standard incident in order to:

  1. Develop clear, concise, unified messages and message delivery strategies during a crisis,
  2. Provide timely, accurate and updated information to CAP leadership, members, stakeholders, the news media and the public,
  3. Protect the reputation and integrity of Civil Air Patrol by providing reasonable media access and by releasing clear, straightforward and honest information in accordance with CAP regulations and policies, and
  4. Act proactively to head off or correct any misinformation or misperceptions regarding CAP and the event.

5. Reasons for possible team activation.  The team can be activated any time it is perceived that a situation or incident has occurred or is developing involving the Squadron or Wing which has the potential to attract the unplanned attention of stakeholders, the news media or the public, especially when it may cast CAP in an unfavorable light if not handled in a timely, honest and forthright manner. 

Examples include:

  1. Participation by CAP members from the squadron in response to a multi-state or national statewide emergency or natural disaster,
  2. A fatal accident to any participant in a CAP-sponsored activity occurring within the Region,
  3. A fatal accident involving a CAP member from the Squadron participating in any CAP activity or emergency response within or outside the Region,
  4. A serious accident involving an aircraft assigned to the Region or Wing.
  5. A member of the unit is arrested, incarcerated, or charged with a felony or crime.

6. Initiation of team activation. Any member of the Squadron staff, the Commander, Deputy Commander or Chief of Staff of any subordinate Wing, or any member of a subordinate Wing’s Crisis Communications Team may initiate the process to activate the Unit Crisis Communications Team at any time by contacting any member of the team.

The team shall be considered to have been activated once a team member has had a chance to speak in person, by phone or by other means with the requesting party or when a team member has affirmatively responded to a text message or email from the requesting party.

7. Initial response.   Upon activation, the requesting party will immediately provide a succinct briefing of the event to the member of the Crisis Communications Team who was contacted.  Methods other than by text, such as email or telephone, are preferred.

The requesting party will be advised not to share information with others without further consultation with the Crisis Communications Team or a member of the National Command Staff and to remain available for contact for at least 90 minutes for follow-up inquiries.

The contacted Crisis Communications Team member will serve as the Team Lead until relieved of such duty by appropriate command authority.

The Team Lead will make arrangements for and notify all standing team members and any other appropriate individuals and ask them to participate in a face-to-face meeting or conference call within 30 minutes of team activation.  (A web search of the term “free conference call” will result in links to several such services.)

If fewer than three members of the Crisis Communications Team are available to participate in a meeting or conference call, the Team Lead will contact a member of the NHQ Crisis Communications Team, NHQ Public Affairs Team, Region, or Wing Crisis Team and ask them to take over response to the incident or event from the Squadron.

8. Goals of first team meeting or call.  The Team Lead, the requesting party, or both, will provide a succinct briefing to the assembled team members regarding the incident or event. 

Upon conclusion of the briefing, the Crisis Communications Team must decide whether the circumstances warrant activation and are within capabilities of the squadron team or ask Wing or above levels to take over.

If the Squadron Crisis Communications Team decides to respond to the incident or event, it needs to make the following decision and assignments:

  1. Public spokesperson
  2. Primary contact for Region members
  3. Primary contact with NHQ staff
  4. Need for and assignment of a family liaison
  5. Activation of an Incident Command Posts or Media Center
  6. Agreement on three bulleted statements to serve as initial talking points
  7. Determine time and method or location of next team meeting


If at the conclusion of the briefing the Crisis Communications Team determines that a management response of an Incident Management Team or NHQ staff is warranted, the Team Lead will make such a request to a member of the NHQ, Region, or Wing Staff.

9. Pre-identified locations for an Incident Command Post or Media Center.  The Public Affairs Officers and Logistics Officers of the squadron have will be tasked with identifying locations in their home communities and nearby communities which could serve as Incident Command Posts or Media Centers. In our squadron situation it will be most likely be Coral Academy and then if have to move to the Ranch House or Henderson Airport as those two locations have Communication

10. CAP, media and primary stakeholder contacts.  The Squadron will prepare and maintain a list of Wing, Region, NHQ Command and Public Affairs staff and of major national media outlets with reporters and correspondents in the Region.

All units have been tasked with preparing and maintaining a contact list of all area news media outlets serving their home community, and of other important community stakeholders including local government and law enforcement officials.

11. Information distribution methods.   The Squadron has established the following accounts to electronically distribute timely information to the public:

Email              Nicholas.Sacco@nvwgcap.org

Web site          http://nv802.cap.gov

Facebook        https://www.facebook.com/pcrnv802

Twitter            @ PCR_NV_802


Passwords and other information needed to access these accounts is contained in eservices.

12. Approval, distribution and dissemination.  This plan is effective upon review and approval of the Squadron Commander.  The latest version of the plan will be submitted to Wing Public Affairs for annual review and input by Oct 31 of each calendar year.

Copies of this plan, minus the Appendices, will be distributed to the Squadron staff members by email by Oct 31 of each calendar year.

Any updates to the plan or any appendices will be immediately distributed by email to all current members of the Crisis Communications Team and to NHQ Public Affairs, Operations, and Emergency Services staff members.

Submitted:  January 25, 2020  

© 2020 Civil Air Patrol. All rights reserved.