Preparing for disasters is crucial, but sometimes buying supplies ahead of time can be costly. To help make it a little more affordable, Texans can take advantage of an Emergency Preparation Sales Tax Holiday April 22-24. While you are purchasing these items, it is also a great time to review your family’s disaster plan – or to make a plan if you don’t already have one.
The event serves as a reminder of the importance of planning ahead for disasters. Because natural disasters often strike without warning, preparation, including being well supplied, is important in dealing with them.
“Unfortunately, we can’t predict when the next fire, flood or tornado may strike,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar stated in a press release. “But we can be prepared, and this tax holiday helps Texans save money while stocking up for emergency situations before they happen.”
There is no limit to the amount of items that may be purchased during the tax holiday, but only certain items qualify, according to the comptroller’s office.
Items which qualify include:
- Portable generators costing less than $3,000.
- Emergency ladders and hurricane shutters costing less than $300.
Also approved are the following items when they cost less than $75:
- Batteries (including AAA, AA, C, D, 6 volt or 9 volt varieties)
- Nonelectric can openers
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Coolers and ice chests for food storage (nonelectric)
- Fire extinguishers
- First aid kits
- Fuel containers
- Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits
- Ice products which are artificial and reusable
- Light sources, including battery operated flashlights/lanterns and candles
- Portable radios, including battery operated, two-way and weather radios
- Smoke detectors
- Tarps and plastic sheeting
The following items do not qualify for the tax exemption:
- Batteries for motorized vehicles
- Camping supplies
- Extension ladders
- Repair/replacement parts for other emergency preparation supplies
- Services related to emergency preparation supplies
In addition to buying supplies before a disaster, this is also a great time to plan ahead. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services encourages people to make a family disaster plan, which includes how you will get in touch with each other if you are separated, where you will go and what you will do in different types of emergencies.
This disaster plan should include escape routes from your home and neighborhood, a meeting place and communication plan. List an out-of-town contact and important contact numbers, and have family members keep the list in their wallet, purse and/or backpack.
The DHHS notes that when people are injured, they may not be able to communicate with police, firefighters, medical personnel or volunteers who will be looking for contact numbers. These responders will often look for information on cell phones, but another important way to help them is to keep an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact list on your phone and in wallets, purses and backpacks.
For more ways to prepare for disasters, visit here.