OFDA Stockpile Commodities and DART Support Equipment

A. Introduction

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) maintains stockpiles of standard relief commodities at strategic locations around the world. The purpose of these stockpiles is to position relief commodities closer to potential disaster sites to make relief commodities more immediately available to disaster victims. The prepositioning of these commodities also reduces the delivery costs.

To access commodities in the stockpiles, the OFDA Logistics Officer notifies the stockpile managers of the types and amounts of items needed for a disaster and coordinates the pickup and delivery of the commodities to the affected country. The types and amounts of commodities withdrawn from the stockpiles are based on the acceptance of needs assessments conveyed to OFDA from the affected country.

The initial stockpile commodities released to a disaster may precede the arrival of a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART). On arrival at a disaster site, DART members should be prepared to assist in or take on the responsibility of locating or receiving, offloading, inventorying, issuing, tracking, and accounting for these commodities. If at any time during a disaster the DART needs further stockpile commodities, a request with a description of the need must be processed through OFDA. A DART cannot access the stockpiles directly.

Stockpile commodities may be released to the United Nations, private voluntary organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and/or international organizations that are qualified to distribute and instruct in the use of the commodities.

OFDA in Washington (OFDA/W) Logistics is constantly reviewing the usefulness, quality, and feasibility of stockpile commodities and DART support equipment. OFDA/W Logistics also looks for new items for relief commodities and team support. Therefore, OFDA may have commodities or support equipment available that are not listed below. For example, OFDA now owns a variety of vehicles for DART use. These vehicles have a range of capabilities including gas or diesel, left- or right-hand drive, armored or unarmored. If you have a need for a specific commodity or support equipment, contact OFDA/W Logistics, and they may be able to assist you.

Information critical to the planning of all aspects of the ordering, movement, tracking, and accounting of OFDA stockpile commodities and DART support equipment is provided below in section B. This section also contains detailed information about obtaining and using plastic sheeting to construct temporary shelters.

B. Relief Commodities

The following items are standard relief commodities that OFDA stockpiles. OFDA may at times stockpile small quantities of other items, including medical kits, soap, or hard hats. OFDA/W Logistics is able to quickly procure a wide variety of items, such as kitchen sets, tents, face masks, or gloves, and deliver them within a few days of a request.

1. Blankets

Wool blankets are usually packaged in bales of 25 each. A bale weighs 73 pounds, measures 22 by 28 by 31 in, and displaces

11.1 ft3. Check with the Logistics Officer, however, because some manufacturers may package them differently.

2. Water Containers, 10-Liter Collapsible

Water containers are for use by disaster victims and relief work-ers for moving and storing potable water. Each box holds 50 water containers, and each skid has 12 boxes. Skid dimensions are 48 by 40 by 50 in, with each skid displacing 56 ft3 and weighing 290 lb.

3. Hygiene Kits

The hygiene kit is intended to supply disaster victims with basic hygienic commodities. Each unit is packaged in a corrugated box that contains supplies sufficient for a family unit of five for about 2 weeks. Each box contains six hygiene kits, and each skid holds 30 boxes. Skid dimensions are 48 1/2 by 30 by 85 in. Each skid displaces 72 ft3 and weighs 1,150 lb. Hygiene kits include the items shown in table B-1.

Table B-1. Hygiene Kit Contents

Item

Description/Size

Quantity

Comb

7-inch plastic

1 each

Detergent washing powder

25 oz

1 package

Razor, disposable twin blade

5-count pack

1 pack

Sanitary napkins

12 count per bag

1 bag

Shampoo

8-oz bottle

2 each

Soap bar

3-oz size

2 each

Soap dish-plastic, closed type

Hinged lid

1 each

Toilet paper

500-count sheets

2 rolls

Toothbrush, nylon bristle

30-tuft

5 each

Toothpaste

2.5 oz

1 tube


4. Water Bladder Kit, 10,000-Liter

These water bladders are made from polyester coated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and are suitable for drinking water storage. The bladder is totally sealed and lies flat on the ground like a pillow. It comes in a wooden crate with 12 outlet taps, tools for setup and repair, and 30 ft of semirigid water pipe. The box measures 37 by 42 by 42 in, weighs 450 lb, and displaces 37.8 ft3.

5. Water Treatment Units

Each unit is mounted on a trailer designed for offroad application, and can be towed by a four wheel drive vehicle. The unit provides pumping, purification, storage, and distribution. It consists of a diesel-driven centrifugal pump, a sand filter, a chlorine dosing unit, a 40 m3 capacity water storage steel tank, and six water station kits with piping. The unit can fulfill the daily water requirement of 10,000 people. Included is a tool kit; extra air filters; a kit for chlorine, pH, and turbidity analyses; and a supply of consumables. The unit, including the nondetachable trailer hitch, measures 128 by 84 by 83 in, weighs 4,520 lb, and dis-places 516 ft3.

6. Plastic Sheeting

a. General

This sheeting is specially designed for shelter and can be used to replace damaged or destroyed walls or roofing or to construct temporary shelter for people in need. Because of its high cost and unique qualities, the sheeting should be used only to meet temporary human shelter requirements. This plastic sheeting should last more than 1 year under normal field conditions; it functions extremely well in hot climates. It can be used to:

  • Repair holes in a damaged wall.
  • Cover holes in a damaged roof.
  • Cover a roof on an existing structure.
  • Cover the walls and/or roof of a newly constructed structure.
  • Construct personal temporary shelters.


It can also be used to repair or build a large structure, such as a school, field hospital, or other community-type structure. The sheeting can be divided into smaller pieces and distributed according to local needs and conditions.

b. Description

The plastic sheeting (24 by 100 ft) is boxed one roll per box and weighs 120 lb (54.4 kg). Each box is 42 by 24 by 16 in

(1.1 by 0.6 by 0.4 m). Figure B-1 shows an example of the dimensions of the plastic sheeting. Each skid contains 10 boxes and measures 48 by 42 by 83 in (1.2 by 1.1 by 2.1 m). The weight of a 10-box skid is about 1,275 lb (578 kg). The volume of a skid is 97 ft3 (2.8 m3).

The plastic is nontransparent and coated on both sides with a black scrim net that makes it strong; tearproof. The white side is ultraviolet-deflective; the other side is beige. It absorbs heat from the sun in colder climates. An 8-in (20.3-cm) USAID emblem is printed on the plastic at 6-ft (1.8-m) intervals. It has heat-sealed seams 6 ft apart along the length of the roll. These seams allow for quick separation because they easily tear apart.

Both sides have tick marks at 10-ft (3.0-m) intervals for measuring purposes. Also enclosed are six rolls of adhesive tape constructed from the same material as the plastic. Each roll of tape is 30 ft (9.1 m) long and 1 3/4 in (4.4 cm) wide.

Special care must be taken when heating the shelter; although the material is fire-retardant, open fires should not be allowed in or near the shelter because plastic sheeting will burn.

Moisture will condense (sweat) inside when the plastic is made into enclosed tent-like shelters and used in high altitudes or cold climates; the sheeting is nonporous and does not breathe. To remedy this, use a second layer of plastic over the structure; keep this second layer from touching the frame of the structure.

c. Distribution

Before unpacking and unrolling the sheeting, move the distribution operation to a large area such as a school gym, football field, or airport hanger that preferably is protected from the weather. For distribution purposes, the sheets can easily be separated at the heat seams by peeling the seams apart. Normally a single sheet is split at the center seam, which allows strips of 12 by 100 ft (3.7 by 30.5 m). These strips are then cut to the appropriate lengths for distribution.

With the measuring marks at every 10 ft (3.0 m), cutting lines can be quickly established. The most common size for a small family is a 12 by 20 ft piece (3.7 by 6.1 m). This size may be enlarged according to family size, weather conditions, and other considerations, such as the need for roofing patches or replacements.

d. How To Use Plastic Sheeting

To create an enclosed, private living space in or contiguous to a damaged or undamaged structure, plastic sheeting can be stretched over a portion of the structure and anchored to the ground with ropes and stakes like a tent in several ways, or attached to the structure to create additional covered space contiguous to the structure.

  • Wrap the ends of the plastic that will be staked down around a stick. Poke holes in the plastic along the stick and tie ropes around the stick. Then, stake the ropes.
  • Place a small rock under the sheeting. Twist the sheeting around the rock. Tie a rope around the twisted sheeting. Then, stake the rope.
  • Use as many stakes or anchors as needed to keep the plastic as tight as possible.
  • Stretch the sheeting over a damaged structure, and nail it to the remaining portions of the structure.
  • Stretch the sheeting over the roof or roof segment. Pull the plastic sheeting as tight as possible before connecting it to the roof frame. To get the sheeting tight, pull it firmly in all four directions.
  • Be sure to stretch the plastic tight and attach it securely to the roof frame or anchor it to the ground.
  • Hammer the nails through some type of washer, such as a piece of tire, rubber, or a flattened bottle cap. Or, hammer the nail through a batten.


When no structures are available to create covered living space in combination with plastic sheeting, or when using existing structures as part of a shelter solution might expose beneficiaries to additional risks (e.g., earthquake-, flood-, or conflict-damaged walls may not be structurally sound), framing material, such as wood, metal, or plastic poles, bush sticks, tree branches, and/or rope/string, may have to be provided to enable beneficiaries to erect a basic, free-standing shelter. Examples of this form of shelter appear in figure B-2. Most of the guidelines on sheeting use noted above are also relevant for these free-standing structures. Sheeting could be sup-plemented with mats, blankets, or other materials suitable for enclosing space.

Examples of Plastic Sheeting Shelters
Descriptive text is not available for this image


Note: Use of standard, 4 by 6 m piece of sheeting depends on context, climate, tradition, and other factors. The Sphere Project indicator is for "covered living space," not square meters of plastic sheeting.

(1) Hot Weather Conditions

  • Turn the white side of the sheeting toward the out-side to reflect as much of the sun’s heat as possible.
  • Make the roof of any new structure as high as possible.
  • Vent the roof to let super-hot air escape and reduce the temperature inside the structure. Ventilation through doors and windows helps, but not enough.


(2) Cold Weather Conditions

  • Turn the long side of the structure toward the warmth of the sun. Then, turn the dark (beige) side of the sheeting toward the outside to absorb more heat.
  • Make the roof of any new structure as low as possible.
  • Shovel dirt or even snow against the outside of the structure walls to help hold the heat inside.
  • Fasten a second layer of plastic sheeting or any other material on the inside to create a double layer for insulation.


(3) Precautions

  • During windy weather, loose sheeting will flap vio-lently and cause (more) damage to the structure.
  • During rainy weather, loose sheeting will collect rain-water, which can cause (more) damage to the structure.
  • After a strong wind or rainstorm, look at the structure for signs of wear and tear. Tighten all ropes and use additional nails, if needed, to tighten the sheeting.

C. DART Support Supplies and Equipment

OFDA stocks a variety of supplies and equipment to support DART and Assessment Team members, such as field packs, remote location kits, vests, helmets, and office supply kits. OFDA also maintains a fleet of fully-armored, lightly-armored, and unarmored vehicles for field operations. Other supplies and equipment can be obtained through interagency agreements with agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Fairfax County, Virginia, and Los Angeles, California, Fire Departments. Descriptions of the field packs, remote location kits, and office supply kits are provided below; contact the Logistics staff for information about other supplies.

1. OFDA Field Packs

The purpose of the OFDA field pack is to provide the necessary items to allow OFDA personnel sent to the field to be able to support themselves for 48 to 72 hours under adverse field con-ditions if necessary. Many items are useful to an individual during a relief operation. Remember that a field pack is a support kit, not a survival kit, and is not intended to complement personal items that DART members bring on a deployment. Each pack measures 18 by 18 by 12 in, displaces 2.3 ft3, and weighs 23 lb. Table B-2 lists the contents of the field pack. All items are consumable, except for the pack itself, which must be returned to OFDA/W Logistics.

2. Remote Location Kits

Remote location kits are issued to OFDA personnel being dis-patched to locations where food, potable water, lodging, and other comfort items may be limited, delayed, or nonexistent. The kit contains the OFDA field pack in its entirety plus larger items such as a sleeping bag and ground pad, water filter, and tent. As with the field pack, the remote location kit is intended to provide limited support in the field and is not a survival kit. Most of the remote location kit items are durable and must be returned to OFDA/W Logistics.

Table B-2 lists the items contained in the field pack and remote location kits and identifies whether the item is durable or consumable.

Table B-2. OFDA Field Pack and Remote Location Kit Contents

Item Description

Qty

Durable vs. Consumable

Field Pack Contents

Backpack, Kelty Redwing

1

Durable

Bag, plastic (Ziploc)

10

Consumable

Bag, trash

5

Consumable

Bandana (cotton)

1

Consumable

Blanket, emergency (space)

2

Consumable

Bottle, water, w/push-pull cap

2

Consumable

Bowl, plastic, w/lid

1

Consumable

Candles, dripless

12

Consumable

Candle lantern

1

Consumable

Compass, azimuth, w/mirror

1

Consumable

Cord, parachute, 100 ft, 550 lb test

1

Consumable

Cup, stainless

1

Consumable

Ear plugs, w/case

2

Consumable

Eye wash

1

Consumable

First aid kit, individual

1

Consumable

First aid manual, individual

1

Consumable

Flagging, 150 ft, Day-Glo pink

1

Consumable

Flashlight, Mini Maglite w/case

1

Consumable

Flashlight bulbs (2 per pack)

1

Consumable

Flashlight headband

1

Consumable

Field Operations Guide

1

Consumable

Gloves, latex

5

Consumable

Handiwipes, germicidal

50

Consumable

Insect bite swab, Sting-Kill

1

Consumable

Insect repellent, lotion

2

Consumable

Mask, dust

5

Consumable

Matches, waterproof

4

Consumable

Meal, MRE

8

Consumable

Mirror, heavy duty

1

Consumable

Net, mosquito

1

Consumable

Sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher

1

Consumable

Tape, fiberglass

1

Consumable

Tool, survival (pliers head, knife)

1

Consumable

Towel, cotton

1

Consumable

USAID patch, with Velcro®

2

Consumable

Utensil kit

1

Consumable

Water purification tablets

1

Consumable

Additional Remote Location Kit Contents

Dromedary bag, water

1

Consumable

Dromedary hydration kit

1

Durable

Duffel bag, rolling

1

Durable

Jacket, rain

1

Consumable

Mattress/ground pad, 3/4 inch with stuff sack

1

Durable

Pants, rain

1

Consumable

Sleeping bag, to 20° F

1

Durable

Sleeping bag liner

1

Durable

Tent, 60 second

1

Durable

Water filter, MSR MiniWorks

1

Durable

Last updated: May 18, 2017