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

Latest From Consumer Reports

WASHING MACHINE REVIEWS
Why do washers and dryers cost so much?Video Blame in part the rising cost of manufacturing and transportation.
SMART PHONE REVIEWS
First look: Fire Phone puts Amazon in your pocketVideo App choices are limited to Amazon Appstore, which lacks Google offerings.
SEDAN REVIEWS
Buick Regal and Volvo S60 challenge class leadersVideo These updated sports sedans prove surprising—in a good way
TV REVIEWS
What's between you and Samsung's 105-incher? $120k. The UHD set, model UN105S9W, has an extra-wide curved 21:9 screen.
CARS NEWS
Will a 'black box' in your car invade your privacy?Video You’re trading personal information for safety and convenience.
ELECTRONICS NEWS
Find out which smart watches are ready for prime timeVideo Reviews of the Martian Passport, Pebble Steel, and 3 Samsung models.

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