What to pack in an emergency kit

What to pack in an emergency kit

Last updated: July 2011

Illustration: Eva Tatcheva

It's a good idea to keep a kit for any emergency. Here are some things to consider.

Food. At least three days' worth of nonperishable, ready-to-eat foods, such as canned goods, dry cereal, and peanut butter.

Water. At least one gallon per person per day for three days. Bottled water is best because it can be stored indefinitely at room temperature, if it remains properly sealed and is kept dry and away from direct sunlight.

First-aid kit. You can buy a kit or build your own. Include a first-aid manual, antiseptic wipes and antibiotic ointment, bandages, burn ointment, calamine lotion, cold packs, eye-wash solution, gauze, gloves, hydrocortisone cream, scissors, tape, a thermometer, and tweezers. Also include any prescription and over-the-counter medications your family might need:

  • Antihistamines for allergic reactions, including diphenhydramine (Benadryl Allergy and generic) or loratadine (Claritin and generic).
  • Pain relievers, including acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and generic) or naproxen (Aleve and generic). Children should not take aspirin, except with a doctor's recommendation.
  • Stomach and antidiarrhea remedies, including loperamide (Imodium and generic).
  • Antacids, including Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, Tums, and generic.

Remember that drugs do expire; old drugs should not be used.


E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

Laundry & cleaning
WASHER REVIEWS
Best washing machines that cost $800 or lessVideo These workhorses of the laundry room won't break your budget.
cr032k12-Ground_Beef
FOOD SAFETY GUIDE
Special report: How safe is your ground beef?Video Recalls of bacteria-tainted ground beef are all too frequent.
SMARTPHONE REVIEWS
Hidden helpers in your phone are at your fingertips Smartphone functionality has zoomed way beyond driving directions.
Model S P85D
ELECTRIC & HYBRID CAR REVIEWS
Tesla Model S P85D breaks our Ratings systemVideo This brutally quick luxury electric car earned a perfect road-test score.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG GUIDE
Why you shouldn't buy drugs from sites outside of the U.S. There are safer ways to save on your prescription drug costs.
Consumer Reports
ABOUT CONSUMER REPORTS
Interested in joining the Consumer Reports Board? Get details on applying for service on our board of directors.

Cars

Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more