Donate |

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 safety, health, cars, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

PREPAID PLAN COMPARISON
How to choose the right prepaid phone plan See which of four common phone-usage scenarios fits your needs.
LEAF BLOWER REVIEWS
Leaf blowers that don't raise a ruckusVideo Gas models are less noisy than they used to be, but electrics are quietest.
SUV REVIEWS
On the road: 10 best vehicles for family vacations When you're traveling with a crowd, comfort is key for an enjoyable trip.
VACUUM REVIEWS
5 ways to unclutter and clean up your home If you've procrastinated this spring, try these organizing and cleaning tips.
SMART PHONE REVIEWS
Get the best deal on the new Samsung Galaxy S 5 The lowest up-front price could cost you more in the long run.
WASHING MACHINE REVIEWS
Best appliances: Top-rated washer-and-dryer pairs These laundry duos cleaned up in our latest lab tests.

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more