USCG Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
Date Posted: May 31, 2021
Source: Vincent Pica Commodore, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is officially off to an early start: Subtropical Storm Ana formed in the waters 200 miles northeast of Bermuda at 5 a.m. EDT Saturday. Ana’s formation date of May 22 comes over a week before the official June 1 start of the Atlantic hurricane season and marks the seventh consecutive year that a pre-season named storm has formed.

The previous record was four consecutive years, set in 1951-1954. Although the National Hurricane Center has not changed the June 1 start date of the Atlantic hurricane season, it did move the launch date of its daily Tropical Weather Outlooks to May 15 starting this year.

So, do you ever wonder what the world’s #1 Coast Guard agency tells its members to do when hurricanes approach? I mean, after all, Coast Guard personnel by the nature of their duties live by the sea. Here's the checklist. Not everyone can do all these things – but it will make you ask yourself, “should I?”

There are six basics you should stock for your home: 1) water, 2) food, 3) first aid supplies, 4) clothing and bedding, 5) tools and emergency supplies and 6) special items. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container.


Battery-operated radio and extra batteries

Flashlight and extra batteries (do not include candles—candles cause more fires after a disaster than anything else)


Store water in plastic containers, such as large soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A person who is generally active needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need to drink even more. Store three gallons of water per person (one gallon for each day, for each person). Keep at least a three-day supply of water (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation and sanitation) for each person in the household.


Store at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food.  Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking and little or no water.  If you must heat food, pack a can of Sterno and matches.  Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Include a selection of the following foods in your disaster supplies kit:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats
  • Canned fruits, dried fruits and nuts
  • Canned vegetables

First Aid Kit

Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit should include the following:

  • Sterile, adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pairs)
  • Sunscreen
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive tape
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Antiseptic
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades (2)
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or another lubricant
  • Extra eyeglasses

Nonprescription Drugs

  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
  • Antidiarrheal medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Medical Needs

  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture supplies
  • Contact lenses and supplies


  • Toilet paper, towelettes
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Personal/feminine hygiene items
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties  (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Facial tissues

Clothing and Bedding

  • One complete change of clothing and footwear per person
  • Sturdy shoes or work boots
  • Rain gear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Hat and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses

Tools and Supplies

  • Mess kits or paper cups; plates and plastic utensils
  • Cash or traveler's checks, coins
  • Nonelectric can opener, utility knife
  • Pliers, screwdriver, hammer, crowbar, assorted nails, wood screws
  • Shutoff wrench to turn off household gas & water
  • Tape, such as duct tape
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Adhesive labels
  • Safety goggles
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Whistle
  • Heavy cotton of hemp rope
  • Patch kit and can of seal-in-air
  • Videocassettes
  • Disposable dust masks
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Map of the area for locating shelters

For Baby

  • Formula
  • Diapers/wipes
  • Bottles
  • Powdered formula, milk or baby food
  • Medications

Important Family Documents

Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:

  • Copy of will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks, bonds
  • Copy of passports, Social Security cards, immunization records
  • Record of credit card accounts
  • Record of bank account numbers, names and phone numbers
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Copy of Supplemental Security Income award letter

Items for Service Animals/Pets & supplies

  • Food
  • Additional water
  • Collar, Leash/harness
  • Identification tags
  • Medications and medical records
  • Litter/pan

Entertainment: Games and books

Other Disaster Supplies

Assemble the supplies below in addition to your basic disaster supplies kit. Combine these with your disaster supplies kit as you need them, and store them somewhere that is easy for you to get to. These items are IMPORTANT!

Medications, list of which ones and when they should be taken.

Portable Disaster Supplies Kit

  • Emergency information list/other lists
  • Small flashlight
  • Whistle/other noisemaker
  • Water
  • Extra medication
  • Copies of prescriptions
  • Extra pair of glasses
  • Hearing aid
  • Sanitary supplies
  • Pad and pencil or other writing device

Car Supplies

  • Several blankets
  • Extra set of mittens or gloves, wool socks, wool cap
  • Jumper cables and instructions
  • Small sack of sand or kitty litter for traction
  • Small shovel
  • Set of tire chains or traction mats
  • Red cloth to use as a flag
  • CB radio or cellular telephone

If you have any comments on this column or if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at [email protected] or go directly to the D1SR Human Resources Department, which is in charge of new members matters, at DSO-HR and we will help you “get in this thing…”

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