Pre-disaster mitigation programs
FEMA’s Mitigation Directorate is responsible for programs that take action before a disaster, in order to identify risks and reduce injuries, loss of property, and recovery time. The agency has major analysis programs for floods, hurricanes, dams, and earthquakes.
FEMA works to ensure affordable flood insurance is available to homeowners in flood plains, through the National Flood Insurance Program, and also works to enforce no-build zones in known flood plains and relocate or elevate some at-risk structures.
Pre-Disaster Mitigation grants are available to acquire property for conversion to open space, retrofit existing buildings, construct tornado and storm shelters, manage vegetation for erosion and fire control, and small flood control projects.
According to a Weather Channel Report called, “Oklahoma Tornado Tragedy” which was broadcast this week – Oklahoma has 100 schools with safe rooms which were at least partly paid for using Federal dollars offered for this purpose – supposedly $54 million dollars has been given to Oklahoma since after the 1999 f5 Tornado from this Federal program to build storm shelters and safe rooms – but there are only 100 schools in Oklahoma today with these safe rooms and over 1700 schools that have no safe room or storm shelter at all.
From this article –
Should Schools in Tornado Alley Have Safe Rooms?
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, “a safe room is a hardened structure specifically designed to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) criteria and provide ‘near-absolute protection’ in extreme weather events, including tornadoes and hurricanes.”
In recent years, several states have added more safe rooms to school buildings. New school buildings are also incorporating these rooms into their architectural plans.
FEMA notes that after a deadly 1999 tornado in Kansas, a movement began to build tornado shelters in that state’s schools. FEMA awarded the state grants, and Congress appropriated money.
Arkansas, too, began a similar program in 2002. In Sebastian County near the Oklahoma state line, 19 shelters are in public schools. According to a 2008 report, more than 162,000 children, teachers and local residents in 68 Arkansas school districts now have shelters to protect them. According to state agencies, the cost for these shelters was just $400 per child or a total of $56 million.
In Oklahoma, more than 100 schools have safe rooms or storm shelters. Some districts have justified the cost by having the room serve a double purpose, such as the school library.
David Cockrill, CEO of Red Chair Architects in Knoxville, Tenn., told TakePart that all schools in the Midwest and South should have safe rooms. But that often that doesn’t happen because of the cost to build them and other variables, such as the likelihood a killer storm will strike.
“This, of course, is a value judgment,” Cockrill said. What’s the value of a human life? What’s the likelihood of an F4 or 5 tornado in a particular location? Without unlimited resources, value judgments undoubtedly have to be made.”
then I found this –
Safe Room Rebate Program – Update Feb. 2013
UPDATE – February 2013
The City’s safe room rebate program is still “on hold”, with not a lot changed from our update of last May.
Our county-wide Hazard Mitigation Plan still has not been approved by the State and FEMA. There were changes to the Federal requirements for this plan that occurred while our contractor was writing the document; he has had to rewrite it. We’ve found that the FEMA requirements and their interpretations seem to be a constantly moving target, more so with the new wrinkles. We’re still working out various wording changes with the State reviewers and hope to submit the final document in March.
However, the Plan is not our main obstacle. The Federal grant program which funds local initiatives such as ours is funded by monies set aside during Presidential major disaster declarations. Oklahoma has had few of these declarations in the past couple of years, so there is not a lot of grant money available.
Once our Plan is approved and grant funds become available, we will certainly proceed with our rebate program application.
Safe Room Rebate Program Status – May 1st, 2012
In October 2011, the City of Moore solicited names and addresses of Moore residents interested in receiving federal grant monies toward the installation of a Safe Room or Storm Shelter. We were required to collect the data prior to submission of the City’s application to FEMA.
For the City of Moore to be eligible for the federal funds, we are required to have a FEMA approved Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) on file. The City collaborated with other communities in Cleveland County on the HMP and it was approved in September 2006 and expired in September 2011. The communities of Cleveland County began the revision process of the new Hazard Mitigation Plan during the summer of 2011.
The Cleveland County HMP is expected to be completed this month and will then be submitted for approval by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and FEMA. This approval process could take at least 5 months. We anticipate a final approval date of November 1st, 2012 at the earliest.
If the grant application is approved and funded and the HMP is approved then we will we contact the original applicants to ensure they still interested in receiving grant funds and have not been funded by another program. The grant will not pay for shelters that have already been installed.
The City of Moore collected information from citizens during the month of October for the local Safe Room Rebate program. The State of Oklahoma is still accepting registrations at www.soonersafe.ok.gov.
It is the desire of the City to assist persons who are in Moore to have a place to seek refuge from severe weather. To this end, the City is gathering interest forms as the first step in applying for a hazard mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. We intend to apply for 2 million dollars in FEMA funding which will assist approximately 800 Moore homeowners.
This particular rebate program is for residential homes. Rental and/or commercial properties are not eligible. If a homeowner is chosen for the program and the City is successful in securing FEMA funding, the homeowner will be eligible to receive up to $2500 in rebate upon installation and verification of final paperwork.
All registration will be completed online at the website www.soonersafe.ok.gov. This is the website for the State of Oklahoma’s Sooner Safe program; all persons who live in Moore and register prior to November 1st will be eligible for both the State program and the City of Moore’s program. If needed, assistance in registering may be provided at Moore City Hall, 301 N. Broadway, during normal business hours.
In addition, Cleveland County is offering a safe room rebate program as well. Registration for their program can be accomplished at www.ccok.us. Note that this is a separate program from the City of Moore program and the State program, and requires a separate registration. Homeowners are urged to register for Cleveland County’s program as well as the State’s and the City of Moore’s.
Information concerning the City of Moore Safe Room Rebate Program may be found online at the City’s website, www.cityofmoore.com.
For details about this program Click Here.
City of Moore Safe Room Rebate Program
Goal: To assist the residents of the City of Moore in mitigating the hazards of severe winds by providing monetary rebates for the installation of residential weather safe rooms. What: Provide monetary rebates to homeowners who install weather safe rooms at 75% of their cost up to a maximum rebate of $2,500. (etc. with explanation of the program which they didn’t do for any of the people who requested it through them.)
What is 800 homeowners times a rebate of $2,500 – is that really $2 million dollars?
And then I found this –
“Community” Shelters – Moore, Oklahoma
The City of Moore has no community (or “public”) tornado shelters. This is due to two factors: Overall, people face less risk by taking shelter in a reasonably-well constructed residence! There is no public building in Moore which has a suitable location for a shelter.
Go back and take a look at the current pictures of Moore, Oklahoma after the storm and then somebody needs to explain how “sheltering in place” inside any of those homes that are now nothing but shards of debris makes any sense -
Too stupid for words. Apparently there is no high value given to human life in these places.
A little more from the storm shelter / safe room rebate program that never provided any of either for Moore, Oklahoma homes –
How the Program Works:
1. Moore homeowners complete online registration at http://www.soonersafe.ok.gov from now until October 31st, 2011.
1. The City of Moore will receive a data file of registrants and review these for eligibility. This review will verify location within the City limits; that the registrants are homeowners and this is their primary residence, etc.
2. The city will choose at random 800 primary registrations and 200 alternate registrations. Note that all registrants will remain eligible for selection in the State’s Sooner Safe program until such time as notified by the City that they have been selected and confirmed as part of the City’s program.
3. The City will process each chosen registration to determine eligibility for Federal funding. This includes information concerning environmental issues, historical significance of the property, location with reference to floodplains, etc.
4. The City will use the primary and secondary locations to complete and submit a grant application with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
5. At this point, we await approval from FEMA.
(Yes, this IS a LOT of work just to submit a grant application that we hope is funded!)
But that isn’t the only program – tracking the availability which has been there for states and localities certainly in the 14 years every year since the massive 1999 tornado decimated Moore, Oklahoma during one of several disastrous tornadoes which have reeked havoc – this article from 2008 in DeSoto describes some of those available funds and grants for safe rooms and storm preparedness measures for public safety during extreme weather events –
Additional warning sirens approved; 70 receiving storm shelters
By ROBERT LEE LONG/Community Editor
DESOTO COUNTY – At least 70 DeSoto Countians have been approved for federal storm shelter grants that reimburse local contractors for construction of storm shelters.
The federal Storm Shelter Initiative grants, formerly known as Tier II grants, are funded through federal monies appropriated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Similar grants were funded for the construction of local storm shelters following devastating tornadoes in the Lewisburg area in 2001.
District 3 Supervisor Bill Russell said individuals need not apply for the $199,500 earmarked for storm shelters this year but can submit their names to be included on a backup waiting list.
Under the grant program, the federal government will pay up to $3,500 for the construction of shelters. Individuals must secure contractors on their own.
DeSoto County is included in the so-called “tornado alley” that encompasses much of the upper Mississippi River Valley.
Supervisors Tuesday also learned the county is in line to receive seven new generators, and a total of 45 sirens.
Curtis said rural unincorporated DeSoto County stands to receive 20 sirens, with the five municipalities receiving four to six sirens each.
“We’ve been trying for 20 years get these sirens,” Curtis said. “Every year, we would go to Washington D.C. and ask for these sirens.”
A bit more of the information given by the decision-makers of Moore, Oklahoma to their population –
Put another way, there’s a very small likelihood of Moore being struck by a tornado. There’s an extremely smaller chance of Moore experiencing another “May 3rd” type event. If we are struck again, it will very likely be by a much less intense storm. Sheltering in your residence – assuming it is a reasonably-well constructed home – is the best option. The opinion of our emergency management severe weather professionals is that community sheltering is not only not possible in our situation, but not advisable.
Statistically, there is only about a 1-2% chance of a tornado – of any size – striking Moore on any particular day during the spring. But of all tornados that do strike us (again, not very many historically), there’s only a less than 1% chance of it being as strong and violent as what we experienced on May 3rd, (1999).
Yeah, right – well statistically, it only takes one massive tornado to kill a person – but there were more tornadoes than this recent one and the one in 1999 which have hit these areas of Oklahoma which has the highest number of tornadoes in the plains on average and the greatest number of massive ef4 and ef5 tornadoes in the nation.
from another area of Oklahoma –
Nation to build storm shelters where Osages live, gather
In a March 22 story, the Tulsa World reported Oklahoma had 102 tornadoes in 2010 – the most since 1999 when 142 tornadoes were recorded that year. This was the fourth time in state history the number of tornadoes hit triple digits within a single year.
Nearly half of 2010’s tornadoes occurred on one day – May 10 with at least one touching ground in Osage Country near Burbank, the weather service reported.
The bill’s passage also comes one week before a violent storm system swept across Oklahoma, which spawned at least 21 tornadoes statewide with two reported in Osage County near Hominy and Burbank. No injuries were reported. The Osage County storm caused power lines to topple and damaged several buildings and homes, Tulsa’s Channel 6 News reported.
This same storm system hit several states as it traveled east, hitting six states and causing catastrophic damage, as well as 44 deaths, according to the Associated Press. The weather service was investigating over 260 tornado reports as a result of the storm.
Criteria for building the shelters will be published before any construction begins, Red Corn said. “It’s difficult to say how far along this money will go. The structures that were looked at before this law was written ranged in price from $100,000 to 120,000 for a community room that holds lots of people.”
School storm protection is spotty in tornado zones
Schools build more ‘safe rooms,’ but storm protection is spotty in many tornado-prone areas
Oklahoma, which has averaged more than 50 tornadoes per year since record-keeping began in 1950, is in the heart of tornado alley.
More than 100 Oklahoma schools have already received federal grant money for safe rooms, said the head of the state’s emergency management agency.
Federal Emergency Management Agency grants distributed by states can cover 75 percent of the cost of safe rooms, but local schools still must come up with the rest.
Yet most schools still lack them. The reason: the cost, which can range from a few hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million, depending on the size of the room. (my note, but 75% of the cost is covered by the Federal grants – so that total cost of a million dollars is NOT being borne by the local school systems, nor the state, nor the local cities and townships.)
so, what they are saying in effect, is that 20 years or more of students and faculty which can number over 600 – 700 per school per school year are not worth the 1/4 of the $1.2 million dollar price tag which is the only portion they would actually have to pay out of local city, state, school and county resources. That is pathetic. (my note)
Also from the same article -
A massive tornado destroyed six schools and badly damaged four others on May 22, 2011, in Joplin, Mo., though none of the buildings was occupied because it was a Sunday.
As Joplin began to rebuild, officials decided to put tornado shelters in all 13 of their schools, including those that were not destroyed. All of the shelters will double as gymnasiums. A 14th storm shelter being built at the football stadium will serve as a locker room. All are meant to protect students, staff and the public — remaining open 24 hours a day with space to house up to 15,000 people.
Joplin Superintendent C.J. Huff said the above-ground shelters will be built with reinforced steel and specially treated concrete designed to withstand an EF5 tornado like the twisters that hit Joplin and Moore.
“There is no reason, with the technology and resources available, to have 10 or 20 kids killed by a tornado in a school,” McKinney said. “If they are telling students to take shelter in a hallway, that tells you that it is not safe.”
And in 2011 despite other grants available to cover the costs of providing storm shelters and safe rooms for homes, schools, businesses and local city buildings -
S. 1583 (112th): Storm Shelter Tax Relief Act
- Sep 20, 2011 (112th Congress, 2011–2013)
- Sen. James “Jim” Inhofe [R-OK]
- Died (Referred to Committee)
The bill’s title was written by the bill’s sponsor. S. stands for Senate bill.
- This bill was introduced on September 20, 2011, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted.
Introduced Sep 20, 2011 Referred to Committee Sep 20, 2011
- Full Title
- A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax deduction for the purchase, construction, and installation of a safe room or storm shelter, and for other purposes.
- Library of Congress »9/20/2011–Introduced.Storm Shelter Tax Relief Act – Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax deduction, up to $2,500 in a taxable year, for the cost (including labor) of purchasing, …
- Read Bill Text »Last updated Sep 20, 2011.
And from Mississippi in one place there – 2009 – this shows the amount of money for community storm shelters that was actually available and being appropriates to communities and towns as per their requests –
The Picayune Item
October 5, 2009
Manly briefs supervisors on storm shelter proposals
By David A. Farrell
POPLARVILLE — Pearl River County Emergency Management Director Danny Manly on Monday told supervisors he is continuing to hunt for ways to morph three approved stand-alone storm shelters, authorized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, into multi-purpose structures that will save the county money by spreading out maintenace costs and combining the proposed shelters with local construction projects already being planned, such as school cafeterias.
FEMA has approved an $8.9 million grant to construct three stand-alone storm shelters, one each in the northern, central and southern parts of the county. Each shelter would cost about $2.9 million and would be constructed to house residents fleeing a major storm, suchas a hurricane, or extreme weather such as tornadoes, for up to 36 hours.
Like all federal grants, the money is appropriated on the front end, but expenses accrue for local governments on the back end. After the stand-alone shelters are constructed, the county will face maintenance expenses for them and insurance.
And yet, Moore, Oklahoma didn’t bother doing any of that despite the fact that they had from 1999 through 2013 to get it done. Now that is sad. And, that cost more lives than the storm would have all by itself AND the injuries of 353 people whose lives are now going to be impacted by those injuries going forward whether it was only a scratch and a few bruises or having become disabled by those injuries –
from Missouri where a stage collapse during a storm caused seven deaths and 43 injuries –
House Budget Committee approves money toward State Fair storm shelters
With damage done by severe storms at two state fairs last year fresh in memory, the Missouri State Fair staff wants to build some safe places for its guests to take cover.
The House Budget Committee has approved a capital improvement package that includes over $86,000 from the Agriculture Protection Fund, toward building four storm shelters on the State Fairgrounds. The 1,500 square foot safe houses would hold up to about 200 people each and be rated to withstand winds up to 250 miles-per-hour.
State Fair Director Mark Wolfe says several events last year illustrated the need for these shelters. “Unfortunately it takes sometimes tragedies like what something that happened in Indiana at the state fair grounds to make people wake up and go, ‘What are we doing on our end?’”
$86,000 would be the state’s match toward an application for a federal grant. The total project is expected to cost $345,000. (for four 1,500 square foot storm resistant safe houses.)
Government Politricks Failed The People Of Oklahoma By Danielle DeAbreu
Posted May 21, 2013
The images of blood covered Moore, OK tornado survivors are forever stained in our minds, or at least until the next natural disaster hits. The stories of children clinging together in hallways at Plaza Towers and Briarwood Elementary, while their teachers hovered over them as human shields to protect against the falling bricks, are heartbreaking.
In an area of the country where tornadoes are a frequent threat, why didn’t these schools have a safe room? My image of homes and buildings in tornado ally (based solely on Hollywood movies) is that they are all equipped with bunkers of some sort. I mean, even Dorothy’s family in The Wizard of Oz had a “storm cellar.” Where were their bunkers or safe rooms?
Inhofe and Coburn were also two of the eleven Republican senators whose states were most frequently aided by FEMA, and yet opposed legislation to increase funds to the agency when it was running out of cash. Since 2009, Oklahoma has had 56 disasters declared and aided by FEMA.
According to Ashwood, safe rooms are a “mitigating measure. It’s not absolute.” However, he said, any safety measure could’ve helped the seven kids who died at Plaza Towers Elementary School. It may not be considered absolute, but I’m sure it unequivocally beats clinging together in a school’s hallway.
From 1999 – Arkansas -
Financial help available for safe rooms, storm shelters
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management Mitigation Division recently announced the establishment of a grant program to assist individual homeowners in financing the installing safe rooms in their houses or underground storm shelters on their property.
The program will provide a stipend of $1,000 or 50 percent of the total cost (whichever is less) to any Arkansas homeowner installing a safe room or storm shelter in the primary residence after Jan. 21 of this year. The installed safe room will have to meet or exceed specifications outlined in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s publication No. 320, “Taking Shelter from the Storm.” If the storm shelter is purchased as a waterproof underground unit, it must meet state, city, and county codes.
The program money is funded by the State Hazard Mitigation Fund, which is appropriated by the Arkansas Legislature.
Lawmakers Eye Tornado Shelters for Trailer Parks in Oklahoma
Prompted by a deadly February tornado in southern Oklahoma, a state House panel on Tuesday examined ways to increase the number of tornado shelters at mobile home parks.
Bowman said he and the [mobile home] park owner looked into building a large underground shelter that holds 75 people, but the cost estimate was nearly $300,000. He said smaller shelters that hold up to 12 people could be strategically placed in the park for about $3,000 each.
But Bowman said it would be difficult for residents or park owners to absorb the cost without a rebate or tax incentive.
“A lot of small parks can’t afford these shelters,” he said.
Oklahoma Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood said the state implemented grant programs to reimburse residents for a portion of the cost of building shelters after major tornado outbreaks in 1999 and 2003, but those programs have since expired.
Ashwood said federal money appropriated to states after emergency declarations cannot be spent on private businesses, like mobile home parks. He said such “mitigation funds” in Oklahoma have been used to build 72 safe rooms in public schools during the last several years.At least one other state, Minnesota, requires all state-licensed manufactured home communities to have a storm shelter or a detailed evacuation plan, depending on how many residents live there, said Margaret Kaplan, former legal director for the All Parks Alliance for Change, a nonprofit tenants union for residents of Minnesota’s manufactured home parks(etc.)
Frequently Asked Questions: Tornado/Hurricane Safe Rooms
Wonder where he money went?
How could there be 1700 schools in Oklahoma or in any other state of tornado alley or in the Dixie tornado alley of the South that have no safe room for their captive audiences of precious lives, both students and educators who sit by the thousands in those structures for year upon year upon year with no measure of safety from a tornado barreling through them. They may as well be standing outside for what some of those buildings fail to offer in protection and safety for human life.
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program
The Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program provides funds to states, territories, Indian tribal governments, communities, and universities for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster event.
Funding these plans and projects reduces overall risks to the population and structures, while also reducing reliance on funding from actual disaster declarations. PDM grants are to be awarded on a competitive basis and without reference to state allocations, quotas, or other formula-based allocation of funds.
Program Guidance Links
The Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) application period opened on June 1, 2011. The FY11 and FY12 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Unified Guidance is now available. The FY11 and FY12 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Unified Guidance is available in the FEMA Library.
PDM guidance from previous fiscal years can be accessed through the PDM archives.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster. The HMGP is authorized under Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
HMGP Guiding Documents
For disasters declared on or after June 1, 2010, please refer to the June 1, 2010 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Unified Guidance.
For disasters declared on or after June 1, 2009 and prior to June 1, 2010 please refer to the FY10 Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Unified Guidance.
For disasters declared prior to June 1, 2009, please refer to the HMGP Desk Reference.
Roles of the Local Community, State and FEMA – In the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
All levels of Government each have an important, but different, role within the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). For more information, please refer to Roles of the Local Community, State, and FEMA in HMA.
Severe Repetitive Loss Program
The Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) grant program was authorized by the Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004, which amended the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to provide funding to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to severe repetitive loss structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program.
Definition:The definition of severe repetitive loss as applied to this program was established in section 1361A of the National Flood Insurance Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4102a. An SRL property is defined as a residential property that is covered under an NFIP flood insurance policy and:
(a) That has at least four NFIP claim payments (including building and contents) over $5,000 each, and the cumulative amount of such claims payments exceeds $20,000; or
(b) For which at least two separate claims payments (building payments only) have been made with the cumulative amount of the building portion of such claims exceeding the market value of the building.
For both (a) and (b) above, at least two of the referenced claims must have occurred within any ten-year period, and must be greater than 10 days apart.
Purpose: To reduce or eliminate claims under the NFIP through project activities that will result in the greatest savings to the National Flood Insurance Fund.
Federal / Non-Federal cost share: 75 / 25 %; up to 90 % Federal cost-share funding for projects approved in States, Territories, and Federally-recognized Indian tribes with FEMA-approved Standard or Enhanced Mitigation Plans or Indian tribal plans that include a strategy for mitigating existing and future SRL properties.
Benefit-Cost Analysis for Projects
Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) is the method by which the future benefits of a mitigation project are determined and compared to its cost. The end result is a Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR), which is derived from a project’s total net benefits divided by its total cost. The BCR is a numerical expression of the cost-effectiveness of a project. BCRs of 1.0 or greater have more future benefits than costs, and are therefore considered cost-effective. FEMA can only fund cost-effective mitigation projects.
For more information, please see the Benefit-Cost Analysis web page.
HMA Technical Assistance
HMA Technical Assistance
Technical Assistance for HMA Grant Programs is available for Applicants and subapplicants regarding application development. The Helpline can be reached via phone at (866) 222-3580 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The helpline guarantees a 48-hour response time.
Benefit Cost, Engineering, and EHP Technical Assistance
FEMA has also established Technical Assistance Helplines to provide assistance to Applicants and subapplicants with engineering feasibility and effectiveness; Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA), including BCA software, technical manuals, and other BCA references; and Environmental/Historic Preservation compliance for project subapplications. However, in no case will technical assistance involve conducting a BCA, or reviewing project-specific information for completeness or technical feasibility.
The Helplines can be reached via phone at 866-222-3580 or by e-mail as listed below. The Helplines guarantee a 48-hour response time.
- Engineering feasibility and effectiveness: email@example.com
- Cost-effectiveness: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Environmental/Historic Preservation compliance: email@example.com
This means that there is actually help for states and communities to fill out the paperwork, to do the studies in engineering and environmental concerns at our expense as taxpayers and yet either A.) states are not using these which seem unlikely or, B.) they are using them, getting the money and then not appropriating it to the uses of hazard mitigation and storm preparedness measures within the communities in any timely manner. If, as I suspect, the funds are not accessed by grant requests from schools, individual homeowners and communities in the period for which it was given, maybe the states get to use that money in any other way they see fit.
That would mean it is not in the states’ legislatures’ and administrations’ interests to actually get the public involved in receiving that money for building storm shelters, safe rooms, warning sirens, extra generators and rescue boats or anything else. If those funds are not used, which obviously they weren’t fully used in many states along tornado alley as evidenced by the number of schools and homes without any tornado protection at all – then it would represent quite an addition to a slush fund to use for balancing budgets or rebuilding golf courses or any damn thing else the state legislators might choose.
it would certainly explain a lot, if that is the case but it would be a tragic shame that it has been done that way when lives are at stake.
Maybe somebody should call some of these people and ask them –
State Hazard Mitigation Officers
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMAs) Mitigation Grant Programs are provided to eligible Applicant States/Tribes/Territories that, in turn, provide sub-grants to local governments. The Applicant selects and prioritizes applications developed and submitted to them by local jurisdictions to submit to FEMA for grant funds. Prospective Sub-applicants should consult the official designated point of contact for their Applicant State/Tribe/Territory for further information regarding specific program and application requirements. The State Hazard Mitigation Officers are listed below.
(from – as well as the list below – )
Starting with this one –
Mr. Bill Penka
Oklahoma Emergency Management Agency
P.O. Box 53365
Oklahoma City, OK 73152
Phone: (405) 521-2481
Fax: (405) 521-4053
Web Page: http://www.ok.gov/OEM/
Some other information found about the storm shelters / safe room grants made to states by FEMA – this first article from 2010 gives $4,000 each for the homeowner to have a storm shelter in their house either above ground as a safe room or below ground as a storm shelter / storm cellar –
Federal grant available for storm shelters for tornado victims
Posted: Jul 09, 2010 7:52 PM EDT
MADISON CO., MS (WLBT) — Two and a half months after the destructive tornadoes ripped across the state, federal grants for “safe room” shelters are now available for residents in 13 different counties affected by the April 24th tornado.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is now accepting applications for these grants to help expedite the process.
“We hope people take advantage of this opportunity to help protect themselves from future storms.” MEMA Director Mike Womack said in a statement issued by MEMA.
This grant money will be issued through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Mississippians who apply for this grant will receive $4,000 dollars in return for their payment on these storm shelters.
For more information on how to apply for this grant go to: www.msema.org.
(How it works)
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to States, local governments, and Indian tribes for long-term hazard mitigation projects following a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the program is to reduce the loss of life and property in future disasters by funding mitigation measures during the recovery phase of a natural disaster. The HMGP is authorized under Section 404 of the Stafford Act.
When the President of the U.S. declares a disaster, then a percentage of the funds that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) spends for relief and recovery go into a mitigation fund administered by the state in which the disaster occurred.
Plus there are other grant programs to help mitigate damages and loss of life during disasters that do not require a specific emergency declaration for those grants to be accessed.
This is a place to download the FEMA Guidelines for Building a Community Safe Room -
On average, more than 1,275 tornadoes have been reported nationwide each year since 1997. From 1950 through 2006, tornadoes have caused 5,506 deaths and 93,287 injuries, as well as devastating personal and property losses.
Resource File: View / Download / Print (pdf 36903K)
This is the place to download the FEMA Guidelines for Building a Residential or Home Safe Room / Storm Shelter -
Resource File: View / Download / Print (pdf 7959K)
And apparently, although the FEMA grants are made to the State Hazards Mitigation Offices and into State Budgets throughout the regions affected by extreme weather events including tornadoes – much of the time, that money is known to not being given out to the communities, individuals, schools, hospitals and other building owners who could use them to provide safe rooms for people to be safe during these events –
Few Federal Tornado Shelter Dollars Make It to North Texas
In North Texas, only Tarrant County receives federal money for safe rooms in homes
| Friday, Apr 27, 2012
A two-month NBC 5 investigation has found that only a fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars the federal government has handed out for tornado shelters made it to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the biggest metropolitan area in Tornado Alley.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has spent more than $540 million helping people install shelters across the country in the last 13 years. FEMA’s Tornado Safe Room Rebate Program will often pay half of the cost of a shelter, up to a maximum of $3,000.
But in North Texas, only Tarrant County has received money for building safe rooms in homes. It received about $400,000 to install shelters in about 200 homes.
The other 15 counties in the region received nothing because they simply didn’t ask for it. (Really? Could that even be possibly true? – my note)
Also from the article above – (2012)
In an email, an agency spokesman said FEMA “always tries to process applications as quickly and smoothly as possible.”
In one case earlier this year, FEMA funded a tornado shelter application in Oklahoma within a few weeks of receiving the final application information from the state, the agency told NBC 5.
According to state records, the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission (in Texas) received $4.2 million to install almost 1,700 shelters.
(AND Notes this in the article – )
After going through an outside wall, a piece of wood can continue to fly through other walls inside a house, meaning that a bathroom or closet may not provide much shelter.