Now’s the time to get prepared

Published 3:49 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Be prepared.

That’s the message officials are sending to residents across the state this week.

Beginning Friday, the state’s second annual sales tax holiday will kick off.

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The holiday was established in April when Gov. Robert Bentley signed House Bill 436 into law. The measure established an annual sales tax holiday, which allows Alabamians to purchase severe weather preparedness items.

Bentley said the holiday is aimed at saving lives.

It’s no coincidence that it was signed into law a year after one of the most deadly tornado outbreaks in our state’s history.

“We want to encourage people to stock up on supplies that will help them safely weather a storm and its aftermath. Alabama is no stranger to severe storms. Whether it’s a tornado, a hurricane, or even an ice storm, we must all be prepared for whenever severe weather strikes,” Bentley said..

Severe weather can strike at anytime, but March, April and May typically make up the peak season in Alabama and other severe storms.

While we can’t control where or when a storm might hit, we can take steps in advance to prepare.

Now is the time to prepare.

A good start is to visit our local retailers and stock up on items such as batteries, battery-powered radios, weather radios, flashlights, tarps, duct tape, first aid kits and portable generators.

Once you’ve finished your shopping, put together an emergency kit.

The kit should include bottled water and nonperishable food items, hygiene items, first aid items, sanitation supplies, a battery-powered radio, a list of all medications being taken by the members of your family, clothes, blankets, flashlights, extra batteries and any items necessary for a family member with specific needs such as an infant or elderly family member.

It’s also important to review your safety plan with family members.

Know your safe places in case of a tornado or severe storm and make sure family members know where the emergency flashlights and other supplies are kept, and, most importantly, where to go in an emergency.

It’s also crucial to heed sever weather alerts as they are posted.

Ignoring the alerts and signs of approaching storms can put you and your family in danger.

Recognizing this week as Severe Weather Awareness Week is a good reminder that now is the time to prepare for a severe weather event.