OK Safe Room rebate program announced

Governor Mary Fallin kicked off the Sooner Safe – Safe Room Rebate Program today.  More than $1 million in rebates are now available to Oklahoma homeowners for the construction of individual safe rooms and storm shelters. Officials anticipate the funding will help deliver about 500 safe rooms.

“I urge all Oklahomans to take every step possible in preparing for
severe weather,” Fallin said. “Safe rooms offer an invaluable way to
protect your family during a storm and the Sooner Safe – Safe Room
Rebate Program can help Oklahoma homeowners in accomplishing that goal.”

The program is a partnership between the state and federal government.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) delivered the funding, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management will manage the program, and OK.gov is administering the Web site portal where Oklahomans can register to be eligible for the rebates.

“We’re pleased to be bringing this statewide program back to Oklahoma,” Oklahoma Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood said. “We appreciate all the work of our partners in helping to make this happen.”

The program provides a 75-percent rebate – up to $2,000 – to eligible Oklahomans who install above-ground or below-ground safe rooms. To apply for the rebate, Oklahomans should register online at www.soonersafe.ok.gov.  Recipients will be selected by random computer drawing annually.

Funding priority will be given to residents whose homes were destroyed in tornadoes that garnered presidential disaster declaration for individual assistance each year.  For example, this program year, so far, the April 14, 2011 Tushka tornado and May 22-25, 2011 tornadoes in central and northeastern Oklahoma qualify for funding priority.

The 2011 program drawing is set for Jan. 3, 2012.  Following the annual drawing, recipients will be notified by e-mail and given until September 30 of each year to construct the safe room to FEMA standards and submit all required documentation to the state.

To meet FEMA requirements, safe rooms cannot be installed prior to the rebate drawing and notification period in order to be eligible for the program.

Register Online for the Rebate Program

The registration process is easy. To register, go online to www.soonersafe.ok.gov.  The following information is needed:
•  Name and e-mail address
•  Property physical address
•  Year home was built
•  FEMA registration number, if applicable, and if home was destroyed  

Safe rooms save lives

Following the 1999 and 2003 Oklahoma tornado outbreaks, OEM worked with FEMA to help fund nearly 10,000 individual above and below ground safe rooms across the state through a rebate program.  Since that time safe room programs have been emphasized at the local level.

Independent of this statewide initiative, community-based individual safe room rebate programs also will continue.  These programs require municipalities and counties to serve as the grant applicant, to manage the program and be responsible for securing the 25 percent funding match.

What qualifies as a safe room?

For the purposes of this program, the term safe room will include any above or below ground shelter which meets or exceeds FEMA 320 guidelines for building a residential safe room.
For more information about safe rooms or to download a copy of FEMA Publication 320, which contains recommended construction plans for safe rooms, visit the FEMA website www.fema.gov/mit/saferoom