Disaster Preparedness Events

As the seasons change, the importance of disaster preparedness becomes more and more important. In an effort to maintain community resilience and readiness, there are several events and initiatives that are set to take place locally that focus on everything from disability rights during emergencies to financial relief through a sales tax holiday.

Empowering the Disabled in Emergencies

There will be a series of training events coming up that are meant to help you with your disaster preparedness for individuals with disabilities that are scheduled this month. These sessions will be at the Center For Independent Living Gulf Coast in Fort Myers (address is 7011 Cypress Terrace Suite 103) and hosted by the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies.

If you cannot attend in person, you can join the session via Zoom. To join the session through Zoom, you will need to register by calling or emailing the Center for Independent Living Gulf Coast office.

The topics that will be discussed are:

  1. Disability Rights in Disasters Training on May 16th from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
    This event will help you build your confidence in understanding the rights of people with disabilities and how to advocate for those rights.
  2. Personal Preparedness Training on May 23rd from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
    This event will be:
    – An overview of what are considered disasters
    – When you should shelter-in-place and when you should evacuate
    – What should be in your shelter-in-place emergency kit
    – What you should have in your evacuation emergency kit
    – How you can start to prepare now
  3. FEMA Individual Assistance Reforms Training on May 30th from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
    This workshop will provide an overview of:
    – The updates to FEMA disaster assistance program
    – Explain what the changes to the FEMA disaster assistance program mean for the next disaster
    – Review the updates on eligibility accessibility-related items
    – Discuss the impacts that the reforms will have for people with disabilities

For those that will be attending in person, there will be light refreshments provided, and you will receive items that you can add to your disaster/evacuation tool kit.

Sales Tax Holiday for Disaster Preparedness

In a similar effort, the state of Florida will be promoting disaster readiness with a fiscal incentive with the Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. The sales tax holiday will be running from June 1st – June 14th, and there will be another sales tax holiday running again from August 24th – September 6th. This holiday encourages our residents to stock up on emergency supplies by offering tax exemptions on items that are important in case of an emergency during a disaster. Eligible items include:

$10 or less

  • Wet dog food (if sold individually or the equivalent if sold in a box or case)

$15 or less

  • Manual can openers
  • Collapsible or travel-sized food or water bowls for pets
  • Cat litter pans
  • Pet waste disposal bags
  • Hamster or rabbit substrate

$20 dollars or less

  • Reusable ice
  • Leashes, collars, and muzzles for pets
  • Pet pads

$25 or less

  • Cat litter weighing 25 or fewer pounds

$40 or less

  • Portable self-powered light sources
  • Pet beds

$50 or less

  • Portable self-powered radios, two-way radios, or weather-band radios
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks
  • Batteries, including rechargeable batteries, listed sizes only:
    • AA-cell
    • AAA-cell
    • C-cell
    • D-cell
    • 6-volt
    • 9-volt

$60 or less

  • Non-electric food storage coolers
  • Portable power banks

$70 or less

  • Smoke detectors or smoke alarms
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Carbon monoxide detectors

$100 or less

  • Tarps or other flexible waterproof sheeting
  • Ground anchor systems
  • Portable pet kennels or pet carriers
  • Dry dog or cat food weighing 50 or fewer pounds
  • Over-the-counter pet medications

$3,000 or less

  • Portable generators used to provide light or communications or to preserve food in a power outage

Details and updates about the sales tax holiday can be found on the Florida Department of Revenue’s website, visit floridarevenue.com/DisasterPrep.

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