- Cullman, Alabama

February 22, 2013

Tax holiday under way for weather emergency items

By Ashley Graves
The Cullman Times

— Sunshine. Rain. Snow. Tornadoes.

Cullman County has seen it all in just the month-and-a-half into 2013.

With the primary severe weather season just weeks away, Cullman County Emergency Management Agency Director Phyllis Little is hoping area residents will take advantage of the state’s sales tax holiday weekend for severe weather preparedness items so they’ll be ready when the next storm system rolls through.

“This weekend will give people time to prepare, and we hope we can help make sure people have what they need,” Little said. “Where we’re at in the southeast, we can see severe weather any month out of the year.”

The holiday, which began at midnight and continues through Sunday, is a direct result of the work accomplished by Gov. Robert Bentley’s Tornado Recovery Action Council, which he appointed following the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. This marks the second state sales tax holiday for severe weather preparedness items.

“People need to take this opportunity to stock up on the supplies they’ll need before, during, and after severe weather,” Bentley said in a prepared statement. “From NOAA weather radios, to first aid kits, and generators, these supplies can help you and your family stay safe. Alabama is vulnerable to several different forms of severe weather. Take time now to plan ahead. If you wait until the storm strikes, it’s often too late.”

In addition, the event is being held as the conclusion to Severe Weather Awareness Week.

“This is a good time for people to review their safety plan,” Little said. “And if you don’t have an emergency kit, this would be a good time to pick that up. With this holiday, not only will state taxes be exempted, city and county will be as well, so there will be chance for quite a bit of savings.”

Of the items listed, Little said the most important item she recommends people pick up is a weather radio.

“If people don’t do anything else but buy a weather radio and batteries, just that cost savings alone could mean whether or not they got the warning in a timely manner and had time to take appropriate action.”

The covered items must cost $60 or less, except for generators, which are covered as long as they cost $1,000 or less.

Items covered by the sales tax holiday include:

* several types of batteries, including cell phone batteries and chargers

* battery-powered radios

* NOAA weather radios

* flashlights, lanterns, and emergency glow sticks

* First aid kits

* duct tape

* plywood, window film or other materials, specifically designed to protect window openings

* portable generators

* gas or diesel fuel containers

* tarpaulins and plastic sheeting

* any non-electric food storage cooler or water storage container

* non-electric can openers

* any artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs, or reusable ice

* fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors

* ground anchor systems such as cords or rope or tie-down kits.

Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at