How important is a flashlight and working batteries during a hurricane? If you’re not sure set your clock back about ten  years and remember what it was like during Hurricane Rita in Southwest Louisiana.

Now is the time to get those items that you need to be prepared for hurricane season. The State of Louisiana is doing its part by offering a break from state sale tax Saturday and Sunday.

This could mean hundreds of dollars in savings on big items like generators, gas or diesel tanks, or tie downs or straps. The idea behind the program is to give all of us an extra incentive to be ready in the event a storm comes ashore in our area. Here are some of the items that are eligible for tax savings.

**Self-powered light sources, such as flashlights and candles

**Portable self-powered radios, two-way radios, and weather-band radios

**Tarpaulins or other flexible waterproof sheeting

** Ground anchor systems, straps or tie-down kits

** Gas or diesel fuel tanks

**Batteries, sizes AAA, AA, C, D, 6-volt, or 9-volt (Automobile batteries and boat batteries are ineligible)

** Cellular phone batteries and chargers

**Non-electric food storage coolers

** Portable generators

**Storm shutter devices to include only Materials and products manufactured, rated, and marketed specifically for the purposes of preventing window damage from storms

**Carbon monoxide detectors

** “Blue Ice” (and similar re-usable cooling products)

Hurricane season officially begins on Monday and right now the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico are not holding any imminent danger.The forecast for the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season is actually a good one. Most prognosticators and even NOAA has forecast a less than average season. That means the total number of storms should be less than average and the number of intense or major hurricanes should be less than average.

We all know it only takes one and we are hoping that “one” will stay offshore and not pose any threat to Louisiana or any coastal community. While the threat of storm still seems to be in the far distant future, now is the time to be prepared.