Severe weather tax holiday this weekend
by Elsie Hodnett
Feb 19, 2014 | 1209 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama’s third annual Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is this weekend.

“This is a great opportunity for you to purchase the items that can help you prepare for severe weather,” said Patrice Kurzejeski, assistant director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency.

The third annual Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at midnight Sunday. St. Clair and Talladega counties are participating, as are Pell City, Springville, Margaret, Odenville, Argo, Talladega, Sylacauga and Childersburg.

“The Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday came about after the April 27, 2011 storms,” Kurzejeski said. “We are about to enter the spring severe weather season, and this week is Severe Weather Awareness Week.”

Kurzejeski said the sales tax holiday offers residents a much-needed tax break for essential items.

“People realized the necessity of having a car emergency preparedness kit during the late January snow event,” she said. “Many people were stranded in their vehicles for hours upon hours.”

Kurzejeski said this week is a good time to go over safety plans for home and work.

“Identify your safe place now, in case of a tornado warning or high winds warning,” she said. “More information can be found at www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/?n=outreach_feb2014.”

Deborah Gaither, director of the Talladega County Emergency Management Agency, said they also encourage people to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.

“We are encouraging people to buy carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, first aid kits, ice chests, and portable generators,” she said. “Most people have flashlights, batteries and some type of tarp or plastic. We are encouraging people to buy those things they take for granted, and don’t buy as often, during the sales tax weekend.”

Gaither said it is a great opportunity to buy the bigger, larger items at a tax-free cost to better complete an emergency preparedness kit.

“Be aware that there is a dollar limit on the larger items listed,” she said. “And we advise all citizens to have an emergency preparedness kit for their car, work and home—enough that should you be stranded in your vehicle, at home or at work that you can survive for three days.”

Covered items valued at $60 or less include: AAA-cell batteries, AA-cell batteries, C-cell batteries, D-cell batteries, 6-volt batteries, 9-volt batteries, cellular phone battery, cellular phone charger, portable self-powered radio, battery-powered radio, two-way radio, weatherband radio, NOAA weather radio, portable self-powered light source (battery-powered flashlights, lanterns or emergency glow sticks), tarpaulin, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, other flexible, waterproof sheeting, ground anchor system (such as bungee cords or rope, or tie-down kit), duct tape, plywood, window film or other materials specifically designed to protect window coverings, non-electric food storage cooler, non-electric water storage container, non-electric can opener, artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs, reusable ice, self-contained first aid kit, fire extinguisher, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and gas or diesel fuel tank or container.

A single purchase with a sales price of $1,000 or less: any portable generator and power cords—used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage.

Coin batteries and automobile and boat batteries are taxable.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

O Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.

O Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.

O Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.

O Flashlight and extra batteries.

O First aid kit.

O Whistle to signal for help.

O Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.

O Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

O Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

O Manual can opener for food.

O Local maps.

O Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.

Other items that can be added to the basic emergency supply kit include:

O Prescription medications and glasses.

O Infant formula and diapers.

O Pet food and extra water for your pet.

O Cash or traveler’s checks and change.

O Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.

O Emergency reference material such as a first aid book.

O Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.

O Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.

O Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper. When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

O Fire extinguisher.

O Matches in a waterproof container.

O Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.

O Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils.

O Paper and pencil.

O Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.

A Car Emergency Preparedness Kit should include:

O Emergency food bars.

O Emergency drinking water.

O First aid kit.

O Bright headlamp flashlight with batteries.

O Emergency survival blanket.

O Waterproof poncho.

O “Emergency Help” banner.

O Dust mask.

O Personal tissues.

O Moist towelettes.

O Plastic whistle.

O Extra medications and any special needs items.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.