The 2014 Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. (CST) on Friday, February 21 and ends at 12 midnight on Sunday, February 23. It was enacted in 2012 pursuant to Act # 2012-256. Visit the Alabama Department of Revenue to see if your county or municipality is participating. Exempted items include:
- Batteries - AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9 volt, and 6 volt.
- All phone batteries and chargers.
- Battery operated radios, two way radios, weather band, or NOAA radios.
- Portable self powered lights, lanterns, flashlights, and chemical light sticks.
- Plastic sheeting/ drop cloths.
- Anchoring systems i.e. bungee cords and rope.
- Duct tape.
- Plywood and window film.
- Non-electric coolers.
- Non-electric can openers.
- Blue Ice packs.
- First Aid Kits.
- Fire Extinguishers.
- Smoke detectors/Carbon monoxide detectors.
- Gas cans.
Use Alabama's Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday as an opportunity to fill in the gaps in your family emergency plan. If you haven't started use it to take the first step. Be ready when the storms come to provide for yourself and your family.
Most Alabamians know emergencies can strike with or without warning. We, as a state, face hurricanes, tornadoes, straight line winds, potentially crippling winter storms, and the ever present possibility of man-made disasters. In an instant Alabamians can be left to rely on their own means and abilities to maintain creature comforts and in worst case scenarios - preserve their lives.
We have left the self-reliant nature of our forbears for the complexities of modern life. Food, water, electricity, sewage, transportation, communication, etc....are all systems that can be brought to a halt by the simplest of disasters. These interlinked services are a fragile fact of modern life that are often taken for granted. Even a minor ripple in one of these networks can cause one to be in need.
Alabamians must be prepared to provide for themselves for at least 72 hours or longer following a disaster. It takes about this long for public services and government to get their ducks in a row. You are on your own during this time and should plan ahead to have what you need when you need it.
Emergency preparedness is a way to cope with these stressful situations. Take the time to learn about all the hazards that pertain to where you live. Learn your community's disaster response plans, warnings, and evacuation routes. An ounce of prevention is truly worth more than a pound of cure.
- Family Communication Plan - Who to contact?
- Evacuation Plan - Where to go?
- Household Escape Plan - Two alternates for each room.
- Safety Skills Planning - CPR, First Aid, use of Fire Extinguishers, etc...
- Disaster Supply Kit - Grab and go back for each family member.
- Learn the methods of alert in your area.
- What are the possible threats to your area both natural and man-made?
- What are the community plans in your area in the event of a disaster?
- Do you have the means to shelter you and your family?
- What will you do if forced to evacuate? What are the routes you will take in the event of a forced evacuation?
- What can you do in advance to mitigate possible hazards?
- What can you do if faced with a terrorist threat in your area?
- Are you prepared to cope with the after effects of a disaster?
Make a plan:
- Plan for all possible risks both natural and man-made for your area.
- Take into consideration pets, ages of those in your household, locations frequented, dietary needs, medicines taken, disabilities of household members, and local area.
- Have a plan for home, work, school,and auto.
- Have a plan to shelter in place if it becomes necessary.
Build a kit: Basic supplies for 72 hours:
- Water - 1 gallon per person per day.
- Food - three days supply.
- Radio w/batteries.
- Flashlight w/batteries.
- First aid kit.
- Signal whistle.
- Dust masks.
- Wrench to shut off water and gas.
- manual can opener.
- Local/State maps.
- Cell phone with alternate charging method.
- Extra glasses/contacts, if needed.
- Important documents.
- Formula/Diapers, if needed.
- Sleeping bag or blankets for each member.
- Change of clothing.
- Clorox to disinfect water. (9 parts water to 1 part bleach)
- Fire extinguisher.
- Hygiene products
- Activities for children.
Maintaining your kit:
- Store in a cool dry place.
- Rotate and inspect periodically.
- Change food and water approximately every 6 months.
- Update all items as needed.
- Keep in a designated place.
- Make sure every household member knows the location.
- Ready to eat foods optimal.
- High protein bars.
- Dried cereals.
- Peanut butter.
- Salt free crackers.
- Comfort foods.
- Commercial freeze dried foods.
Get involved: Volunteer:
- Local volunteer fire departments, Community Emergency Response Teams, or faith based organizations.
- Take part in community disaster planning.
- Take part in a local preparedness effort - build a team, set goals, and improve the safety of your community and family.
- Educate yourself and your family group.
- Implement a point of contact for them to call during an emergency.
- Choose a family meeting rally point and practice.
- Keep contact info with them at school.
These are simple things you can do to improve the safety and comfort of your family. Start today and set a plan in motion for your loved ones.
Resources: American Red Cross
The time to plan is now before the next storm approaches.