Red Cross urges Texans to use this upcoming tax-free weekend to get their households prepared now for severe weather season

 The impact of climate change is being felt by families across the country as we see more intense storms, heavier rain, higher temperatures, severe droughts, and record-setting hurricanes. The American Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast Region urges everyone to get ready by making preparedness a priority. 

The State of Texas will waive sales tax on emergency supplies to encourage residents to prepare for severe weather season. The sales tax holiday starts at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 23 and ends at midnight on Monday, April 25.

“Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime. We urge people to prepare now and be ready if an emergency occurs in their home or in our local community,” said Brittney Rochell, Regional Communications Director for the Texas Gulf Coast Red Cross.  “We are thankful the state of Texas is waiving sales tax on emergency items needed for people to prepare for severe weather.  Helping people during disasters is at the heart of our mission and teaching people how to be prepared is a huge part of that. Help keep your loved ones safe —get Red Cross Ready today.”

HOW TO GET PREPARED Help keep your family safe by taking three actions to: 1) Get a Kit. 2) Make a Plan. 3) Be Informed.

  1. First take advantage oof the tax-free weekend and purchase the items needed for your emergency kit. Build your emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. 
  2. Next, plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans. Don’t forget to include your pets. Remember, if you and your family need to evacuate, so does your pet. Know in advance which pet-friendly hotels are in your area, and where your pets can stay in an emergency situation.
  3. Finally, plan to stay informed by finding out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders. 

ADDITIONAL CONCERNS Being prepared is important for everyone. Depending on your household’s needs, there might be additional considerations to take into account as part of your emergency planning.

For example, older adults or people with mobility, hearing, learning or seeing disabilities may need to create a support network of people that can help during an emergency. The Red Cross recommends creating a plan that considers each person’s capabilities, any help they may need and who can provide it. This is especially important if evacuations are called for or if the power goes out for several days.

Disasters can be scary for children. It’s important to talk with your kids about preparing for common emergencies, how to stay safe and what to expect before a disaster happens. The Red Cross has free programs and tools to help, visit redcross.org/youthprep for more information.

HELP YOUR COMMUNITY While you are preparing your kit for storm season, it is also a good time to take steps to help your community get prepared for emergencies of all sizes. By volunteering, donating blood or learning lifesaving skills, you can be ready to help your loved ones and neighbors when needed. Visit redcross.org to learn more.

Red Cross volunteers play several critical roles in their local communities, including providing aid after disasters and educating people about home fire safety. People can also support local military members, veterans and their families, or volunteer as a blood donor ambassador or a blood transportation specialist to be the critical link between blood donors and recipients.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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