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Sales tax holiday means good buys on emergency items

To wrap up Severe Weather Awareness Week, Pike County residents will be able to stock up on items to help them prepare for future storms.

The state sales tax holiday for 2013 on severe weather preparedness items begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and will continue through the end of Sunday, Feb. 24. Pike County and Troy are participating in the tax-free weekend.

“Spring severe weather season starts in March, so now is a good time to stock up,” said Jeanna Barnes, Pike County EMA director.

Items covered by the state sales tax include batteries, battery-powered radios, NOAA weather radios, flashlights, glow sticks, first aid kits, duct tape, generators, tarps and plastic sheeting, plywood, artificial or reusable ice, coolers, fuel containers, non-electric can openers and tie downs.

“You want to think about items you would use if the electricity goes out,” Barnes said.

The tax free holiday also includes fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. The covered items must cost $60 or less, except for generators, which are covered as long as they cost no more than $1,000.

“People need to take this opportunity to stock up on the supplies they’ll need before, during and after severe weather,” said Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. “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 the time now to plan ahead. If you wait until the storm strikes, it’s often too late.”

NWS Meterologist Jeff Stefkovich said, while people are building their emergency preparedness kits, they should also learn about possible threats.

“Severe Weather Awareness Week is the time to both educate yourself and develop an action plan before hazardous weather strikes,” Stefkovich said. “We at the NWS take our role of providing life-saving information very seriously. However, our best forecasts and warnings mean nothing if you don’t do something with this information. So, please join us. Take this week to learn about the threats. Learn how to receive the hazardous weather information.”

For a complete list of items that are tax free this weekend, visit revenue.alabama.gov.