Alabama Proposes Sales Tax Holiday for Emergency Preparedness

Alabama Tornado DestructionMany Alabama residents know all too well the aftermath of a disaster, having endured a record breaking tornado season in 2011. Weather forecasters are concerned about the potential for a similar spate of extreme weather this year. In an effort to raise public awareness, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley proclaimed February 19-24 Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Governor Bentley also proposed a sales tax holiday on emergency supplies. This once per year tax reprieve would help Alabama residents stock up on items such as NOAA weather radios, first aid supplies, and emergency kits. The governor warns:

“The key is readiness. When storms strike, it’s too late to prepare. Let’s prepare now.”

The governor’s proposal has not officially been introduced into the Alabama State Legislature, but it is finding support from community leaders. Additionally, regions nationwide are vulnerable to the whims and fury of weather events and should heed Governor Bentley’s warning. The proactive strategies in Alabama should encourage other communities to evaluate the threats they face and prepare for emergencies.

Stores become depleted of emergency supplies soon after disaster strikes. Water supplies can become contaminated and food shortages are a threat. Households and disaster relief agencies can improve emergency preparedness by maintaining disaster supply kits including emergency food, water purification, and first aid supplies.

It is the unfortunate nature of weather related disasters that they are unpredictable. Emergency preparedness is a fundamental necessity of survival. Plan ahead and stock an emergency kit to help you contend with weather related disasters. Consider the shortages you may experience and stock up on supplies to help you survive.

Alabama residents have learned the lesson to prepare a survival kit from experience. Fortunately, many people won’t have to learn this lesson the hard way. The state of Alabama has done a service to the nation in bringing awareness to emergency preparedness. Avoid being caught without food and other emergency supplies by taking proper precautions today.

Learning from Tragedy: Maintain a Fire Safety Kit

Prison FireThe devastating scenes and stories emerging in the aftermath of a fire that ripped through an overcrowded prison in Honduras will bring attention to many social and political concerns regarding prison conditions for some time. Other implications highlighted by this tragedy – with an arguably broader relevance – are the need for proper preparations in times of emergency. Specifically, this disaster highlights fire risk and demonstrates the need for fire safety.

A fire safety plan should be utilized by homes, offices and public places. We all remember fire drills from our school days. Practicing and preparing for emergency situations is not something we should graduate from. Evacuation plans, and fire safety kits including first aid supplies should be part of every fire safety plan. Smoke inhalation is a primary concern in a fire, so store a fire escape mask in your office and in each bedroom of your home to minimize this risk.

It’s practical to stash an emergency kit in a shed or vehicle, outside of your home, with first aid supplies, and other practical survival items such as a warm blanket. Plan ahead and have the necessary tools on hand like a multi-purpose fire extinguisher in places such as your laundry room, kitchen, garage, and vehicle to extinguish small fires before they get out of control. Always evacuate a location and promptly contact your local fire department if fire is beyond immediate containment. If anyone has suffered injuries, think quickly to locate your emergency first aid kit, but never re-enter a burning structure.

Many events including car accidents and natural disasters increase the chances for fires to erupt. For example, spilled gas from broken gas lines in an auto accident can exacerbate the risk in an already dangerous situation. Inexperienced homeowners running a generator following a power outage may increase fire risk. Elevated fire risk follows earthquakes, dry weather, electrical storms, and other natural disasters. Regarding all emergency situations, it is best to prepare ahead and maintain a well-stocked emergency supply kit.