Task ID: P-2002


You are a new member on a mission, and are assigned to the check in area. At this position you will probably be the first CAP mission staff member a visitor or news media person will see.


  1. Understand how to treat visitors, victim family members and dignitaries.
  2. Understand how to handle members of the news media.


Training Outline

  1. As a MSA, you might be the first person to meet a visitor, news media representative, family member or dignitary when they arrive at the mission base. You may be assigned to some other duty and be asked to assist the Chaplain or Information Officer to escort visitors around the mission base. The Information Officer (IO) or the Incident Commander (IC) are the only ones who should be releasing information about the mission. Some information and conversations around the mission base should not be made available to non-CAP members.
    1. Casual visitors: If you determine that someone just wants to see what the CAP is doing and that they are not a relative or news media, lead them to the Information Officer. Determine if the IO wants you to remain to further escort the visitor.
    2. Victim family members: Be on the lookout for relatives of those in distress. Special care must be taken with these individuals. If this is a search mission they will want to be helpful and participate. They will want to be around the mission base to observe what is going on. It is an unfortunate event when they overhear a discussion between members of the search team who may be speculating on the outcome of the mission. Whenever you identify a relative, take them immediately to the Information Officer or the Chaplain if one is available. Do not let yourself be drawn into a discussion about the mission.
    3. Dignitaries: If a dignitary arrives at your location, such as an upper level law enforcement official, a County or State Emergency Management Official or political official, take them to the mission IO.
  2. The News Media can be a help or a problem for the mission. Getting certain information out to the public will often assist in accomplishment of the mission objectives. However, some information is best kept within the mission staff. You may be asked to assist the IO in setting up a tour of the mission base for the media. You may, if working the signing in of personnel, be the first person to meet media who have arrived at the base unannounced. Always take the media to the IO without answering any of their questions. Be courteous, but ONLY the IO or Incident Commander will release information to the media.
    1. The media will try often try to get information from you or other members on the mission, do not allow this. Be polite and respond, "I am not sure. I will take you to the IO that has that information," or "I don't have that information, the IO will be able to help you." Don't say, "No comment," or "I am not allowed to talk about it." Discourage the media from taking pictures or video until after they have met with the IO.
    2. Do not answer any questions and don't allow the media to ask questions of any mission personnel before introducing them to the mission IO. Once again, be polite. We are trying to be sensitive to the family of the victim and protect the integrity of the search- not hide anything.
    3. You may be ask to assist the IO in setting up a tour of the mission base for the media. Follow the instructions given you by the IO.

Additional Information

More detailed information on this topic is available in the Incident Command System Curriculum.

Evaluation Preparation


Use a table and chair to simulate the sign in location at a mission base.

Brief Student:

Tell the student that they are manning the sing in desk and that a non-member has approached their location. Play the part of different visitors.


Performance measuresResults
Does the student take the appropriate actions for each type of visitor?Pass | Fail
Does the student understand whom the only members authorized to release information regarding the mission is?Pass | Fail
Does the student understand he/she is representing CAP and politeness and professionalism is important to their duty?Pass | Fail

Student must receive a pass on all performance measures to qualify in this task. If the individual fails any measure, show what was done wrong and how to do it correctly.

Based on CAP SQTR Reference