Cullman residents are well-aware of the danger of spring storms, from tornadoes to flooding. Last week, we were reminded that winter weather is also a concern we need to plan for.

While we likely, and hopefully, will never be in the same situation as Texans were last week, we can certainly see the benefit of planning and preparing for any weather situation.

This weekend’s sales tax holiday for severe weather preparedness is a great opportunity to save money on items you may need to have on hand. Before you go shopping, though, we encourage you to have a disaster plan for you and your family.

When you put together your emergency kit, think of the things you’ll need right away and in the near future.

According to Ready.gov, items you’ll need to include are: a gallon of water for every person per day for a minimum of three days; a three-day supply of food; manual can opener; flashlight and extra batteries; first-aid kit; local maps; whistle to signal for help; cell phone charger and backup power source; hand-cranked NOAA weather radio; dust masks and plastic wrap and duct tape to filter contaminated air; and moist toilettes and garbage bags for personal sanitation.

Keep in mind your medications, important documents and contact information. If you’re on prescription medications, include them in your emergency kit, and know the names and dosages of what medicines you take.

Important documents like insurance papers can be stored online, but be sure they are in a secure location that you can access later. Take photos of anything of value that you could lose in a disaster and store the photos online, in your secure account. This will help filing insurance claims much easier.

Also, don’t forget your pets. You’ll need several days of food and water for them, along with veterinary records in case they need to go to a temporary shelter. They should also have identification on their collars or be chipped in case you get separated.

Finally, have a family plan. Know where you’re going to shelter in place, meet up after an event or evacuate to if need be. If you have neighbors who may need assistance, try to incorporate them into your plans as well.

The sales tax holiday offers an opportunity to save some money on planning for disasters, but it’s just a start. Make a plan, pack a kit and pray we never need them. But if we do, we’re prepared.

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