ICAO Annex 12
Chapter 5. Operating Procedures
5.2 Procedures for rescue coordination centres during emergency phases
5.2.1 Uncertainty phase
Upon the occurrence of an uncertainty phase, the rescue coordination centre shall cooperate to the utmost with air traffic services units and other appropriate agencies and services in order that incoming reports may be speedily evaluated.
5.2.2 Alert phase
Upon the occurrence of an alert phase the rescue coordination centre shall immediately alert search and rescue units and initiate any necessary action.
5.2.3 Distress phase
Upon the occurrence of a distress phase, the rescue coordination centre shall:
a) immediately initiate action by search and rescue units in accordance with the appropriate plan of operation;
b) ascertain the position of the aircraft, estimate the degree of uncertainty of this position, and, on the basis of this information and the circumstances, determine the extent of the area to be searched; (...)
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