Monday, June 17, 2024

Don’t wait for a major storm to build a disaster supply kit

WILMINGTON — As we enter the peak of hurricane season, all eyes remain fixed on the tropics after two major storms have already hit land this season. In an effort to ensure citizens are prepared in case of disaster, the National Weather Service and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are offering tips on how to build a disaster supply kit.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of a weather emergency.

In the event of something like a major hurricane, it’s key to have a plan in place, and the supplies necessary to keep you and your loved ones safe should the worst occur.

Assembling basic needs like food, shelter, and water is a simple task, but one that’s often overlooked until it’s needed. According to NOAA, it is essential to get supplies together before a major storm hits.

“Have enough food and water for each person for at least one week,” the organization states. “Be sure to fill your prescriptions, and have medicine on hand. Radios, batteries, and phone chargers are also must haves. Gas up your vehicle, and have extra cash on hand.”

Build your own kit

Below you’ll find the essential needs for building your own kit. According to the Department of Homeland Security’s, the majority of these items are inexpensive, and easy to find. Use this checklist to ensure your kit is outfitted with the basic necessities to get you through the worst.

A sample disaster supply kit. (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY NWS)
A sample disaster supply kit. (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY NWS)
  • Water – Your kit should include one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, both for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food – You’ll want to have at least a three day supply of non-perishable food. This can range from things like canned goods, beef jerky, granola bars and applesauce.
  • Radio – In order to keep tabs on the latest situation, be sure to have a “battery powered or hand cranked radio, and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert.”
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit – A first aid kit should include things like bandages, antiseptic, antihistamines, burn gel, pain relievers, antacids, laxatives, and anti-diarrhea medication.
  • Extra batteries or power bank
  • Whistle – A whistle can be used to signal for help in the event you become trapped.
  • Dust mask, duct tape and plastic sheeting – Should you find yourself exposed, or need to shelter in place, these simple supplies can help protect you from the elements, as well as airborne contaminants.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties – For personal sanitation use.
  • Wrench or pliers – Keep these handy to turn off potentially dangerous utilities like gas lines.
  • Manual can opener 
  • Cell phones and chargers with a backup battery

Other considerations

While these are just the basics, there are concerns each individual should factor in when building your kit. If you have infants, or small children, things like diapers, formula, and games and toys for entertainment need to be considered.

If you have pets, be sure to factor in water for them, as well as food to eat. One suggestion is to freeze water in plastic storage containers ahead of time. The water will then be able to serve to keep freezers and cooler cold if the power goes out, and be drinkable by your pets once it melts.

Other items you may wish to include are important family documents like insurance, IDs, and bank records, either saved electronically, or stored in a “waterproof, portable container.”

In addition, things like waterproof matches, fire extinguisher, household chlorine bleach with a medicine dropper for water purification, feminine supplies and hygiene items, as well as sleeping bags, blankets, and extra changes of clothing for each person can be useful to have in your kit.

Store your kit in a cool, dry area, that’s readily accessible in case of an emergency. It is recommended that you build your kit in something light, portable and waterproof if possible.

Lastly, be sure to have a plan in place. According to the DHS, you and your family may not be together when disaster strikes. Know how you’ll contact one another, and where to meet if separated.

It’s important to note things like how you’ll receive emergency alerts and warnings, where to shelter, evacuation routes, and how to keep an open line of communication.

For more information, and tips on disaster prep and planning, visit

Stay ahead of the weather, and learn what types of events could affect you and your home by keeping up with your local National Weather Service office.

Get in touch with Reporter Cory Mannion: follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or send an email at

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