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Tax-free holiday a chance to get prepared

We are at the start of the ninth year the state of Alabama has held the severe weather preparedness tax free holiday. This tax-free holiday is a perfect time to stock up on emergency kit items before a disaster strikes.

We would like to take this time to urge each of you to set your family’s emergency plan. The tax-free weekend started Friday, Feb 21 at 12:01 a.m. and will conclude at midnight on Sunday, Feb. 23.

It is important to be proactive as disaster can strike when we least expect it. Having a plan in place often proves critical.

Determining the needs of your household is an important step in this process. Discuss the needs and responsibilities of each member of your family. Some of the most critical needs include; dietary needs, medical needs and devices and equipment.

Put this plan in writing and practice it on a regular basis. Don’t wait until the time comes and assume everyone will be on the same page.

Some of the items you should include in an emergency kit are non-perishable food items, water, batteries, first aid kit, cell phone with chargers and backup battery, battery-powered radio, important family documents, medications and cash or traveler’s checks. A comprehensive list of items can be found on www.ready.gov.

Also, do not forget to include your family pets in the plan.

All too many times we see abandoned pets immediately after a disaster.

If you care about your pet and we know you do, then treat them just as you would another human being in your family.

Make sure you have enough food and water for the four-legged family members as well as a collar with ID tag. Take a crate or pet carrier. Do not leave your pets to fend for themselves.

With all the rain we have seen over the past few weeks, there have been countless flash flood warnings and tornado season is approaching. We do not want to see any of our neighbors suffering after a disaster because they were not prepared. Take advantage of this weekend’s tax-free holiday and get those items needed to keep your family safe during a disaster.

It only takes a few minutes to protect the most valuable of all possessions — your life and the life of your family members.