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Tuscaloosa participates in tax holiday on many emergency storm items

Katie Thurber

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In light of the devastating events of April 27, 2011, and the current hurricane season, Tuscaloosa will be participating in a tax holiday on storm preparedness items.

As of June 7, Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa County will be a part of the statewide tax break on items such as batteries, plywood, duct tape and weather radios in order to help residents be prepared for future disaster situations.

The holiday will begin Friday, July 6, and end at midnight on Sunday, July 8.

Karen Thompson of Temporary Emergency Services of Tuscaloosa, a service that helps people in need after disasters like the April 27 tornado, encouraged all residents to participate.

“This is a great opportunity for individuals and families to get those basic disaster necessities,” Thompson said. “If something happens, having those things on hand can make a big difference.”

She said even outside of tornado season, being prepared for an emergency situation is very important and some included items could help with any disaster.

James Spann, chief meteorologist for ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, also encouraged people living in the Tuscaloosa area to participate, noting that hurricane season is in full swing.

“If a major hurricane moves up into the central Gulf Coast — like Ivan in 2004 or Katrina in 2005 — despite the inland weakening, they can still bring widespread flooding and power outages well northward into Alabama,” he said. “In some cases, power outages can last for multiple days and even a week, so having batteries, flashlights, etcetera is very important.”

Spann also explained Alabama’s fall tornado season is November through December and the tax holiday is a great way to stock up in advance.

University of Alabama student Adam Melton lost his apartment and was buried under the rubble in the April 27, 2011 tornad. With his experience, he said he feels the need to encourage people to take part.

“With this holiday, people have no excuse not to go out and buy the tools that can save their lives,” Melton said. “I will be sure that all of my friends and family take part in it and know what to buy.”

Melton believes having these items can’t altogether prevent tragedy, but it always helps to think ahead.

“There is no way to be prepared for something like what happened on April 27,” he said. “However, these tools greatly increase your chance of survival and help to keep you informed and safe.”

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Tuscaloosa participates in tax holiday on many emergency storm items