With an active severe weather season underway and promises of a busy hurricane season, officials in several Southern states are advising residents to stockpile storm supplies and save a few dollars in the process.
Lawmakers in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Virginia have passed tax exemptions that temporarily suspend state tax on items considered essential to prepare for storms.
The dates and products included in duty-free days vary by state, but in many places batteries, flashlights, generators, and other commonly used items that fall within a specific price range are included.
The Texas Comptroller’s Office estimates its three-day vacation will save Lone Star State shoppers more than $1.5 million.
“This tax exemption can help Texans save money while stocking up on emergency supplies,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a statement.
The cost of preparing for a storm can cost thousands of dollars, so any money a family can save is definitely good for 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 items on disaster preparedness lists do not have an expiration date, so once a family is stocked up, the supplies can be used whenever the next storm threatens.
Each year, the United States suffers an average of more than $52 billion in damage from weather and climate disasters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says successful preparation for a storm can potentially prevent 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 or crank radio
- Flash light
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- plastic sheeting
- Scotch tape
- Mobile phone with chargers and backup battery