American Red Cross urges people to create hurricane emergency preparedness kit this tax-free weekend


RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – The American Red Cross Virginia regional office is urging people to use this weekend as an opportunity to get a hurricane emergency preparedness kit and plan created.

This tax-free weekend doesn’t just include school supplies, but also many of those hurricane preparedness items.

American Red Cross Virginia regional office communications director Jonathan McNamara told 8News experts said an increase in storms over the weeks ahead is expected.

“The items in that kit are good to help your family prepare for whether it’s large disasters like those hurricanes, tornadoes, or those small family disasters that we know any family here in Virginia can experience,” he said.

List of Qualifying Hurricane Preparedness Items

The following hurricane preparedness items will be exempt from the sales and use tax during the combined sales tax holiday, provided that the items have a sales price of $60 or less per item.

  • Artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs and reusable ice
  • Batteries (excluding automobile or boat batteries)
    • AAA cell
    • AA cell
    • C cell
    • D cell
    • 6 volt
    • 9 volt
    • Cell phone batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated or self-powered light sources
    • Flashlights
    • Lanterns
    • Glow sticks
  • Portable, battery-operated or self-powered radios (including self-powered radios with electrical power capability)
  • Two-way radios
  • Weather band radios and NOAA weather radios
  • Tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths and other flexible waterproof sheeting
  • Bungee cords, rope and paracords
  • Ground anchor systems or tie down kits
  • Ratchet straps
  • Duct tape
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Smoke detectors
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks or containers
  • Water storage containers
  • Nonelectric food storage coolers
  • Bottled water
  • Non-reusable water packets
  • Manual can openers
  • Storm shutter devices
  • Cell phone chargers
  • First Aid Kits

The following hurricane preparedness items may be purchased exempt of the sales and use tax during the combined sales tax holiday, provided that such items have a selling price of $1,000 or less per item.

  • Portable generators and generator power cords
  • Inverters and inverter power cables
  • Photovoltaic devices that generate electricity

Gas-powered chain saws with a selling price of $350 or less and chain saw accessories with a sales price of $60 or less may be purchased exempt of the sales and use tax during the combined sales tax holiday. The following is an all-inclusive list of the items that are deemed “chain saw accessories”:

  • Chains
  • Chain saw bar and nose lubricants
  • Two-cycle motor oil
  • Chain sharpeners and files
  • Bars
  • Wrenches
  • Carrying cases and scabbards
  • Safety apparel, including chaps, gloves, hearing protectors, helmets and protective glasses
  • Repair parts

McNamara said one important part of the hurricane emergency preparedness kit is the first aid kit, also tax-free this coming weekend.

“During any type of disaster we could see debris and other things that could lead to cuts,” he said.

Even if a hurricane doesn’t directly hit Virginia, heavy storms could develop, as residents have seen in the past with flooding.

“We’ve seen over the years that hurricane season can actually have a tremendous impact on Virginia, whether it’s the aftereffects of those storms start to come through the Commonwealth, that flooding, power outages,” McNamara told 8News Wednesday.

Generators that are under $1,000 are exempt from sales tax this weekend as well, which could be of help if there’s a power outage.

Pleasant’s Hardware in Richmond told 8News the store doesn’t usually have many generators in stock but will stock up ahead of large storms set to hit the area.

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