With an active severe weather season underway and promises for a busy hurricane season, officials in several Southern states are advising residents to stock on storm supplies and save a few dollars in the process.
Legislators in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Virginia have passed tax holidays that temporarily halt the state tax on items considered essential to preparing for storms.
The dates and products included in the tax-free days vary by state, but in many locales, batteries, flashlights, generators and other commonly used items that fall under a specific price range are included.
The Texas Comptroller’s office estimates its three-day holiday will save shoppers in the Lone Star State more than $1.5 million.
"This tax holiday can help Texans save money while stocking up for emergency situations," Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a statement.
The cost of preparing for a storm can run in the thousands of dollars, so any money that a family can save is undoubtedly helpful to the wallet.
A 2021 survey by the University of South Florida found that most respondents had less than $2,000 to spend on emergencies.
Many of the items on the disaster preparedness lists do not have expiration dates, so once a family is stocked up, the supplies will be able to be used whenever the next storm threatens.
Each year, the United States averages more than $52 billion in damage from weather and climate disasters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says successfully preparing for a storm can potentially avoid costly damage during a disaster.
FEMA suggests having supplies of the following items:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days_
- Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery