Oklahomans who want to build a tornado safe room may enter a statewide drawing to get a cash rebate.
A 75 percent rebate — up to $2,000 — will be available to about 500 Oklahomans next year under the SoonerSafe-Safe Room Rebate Program announced Tuesday by Gov. Mary Fallin and state emergency management officials.
The state is using $1 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for the rebates.
Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood said it's hoped the rebates will be offered annually.
Residents may apply through Jan. 3 to be eligible for the rebates. The drawing will be Jan. 3, Fallin said.
To apply for the rebate, Oklahomans should register online at www.soonersafe.ok.gov.
The rebate program is open to all Oklahoma homeowners for their primary residence only. Businesses, apartment complexes or other multifamily structures are not eligible. Mobile homeowners are eligible if they also own the property on which their mobile home sets.
Homeowners whose homes were destroyed in the April 14 Tushka tornado or the May 22-25 tornado outbreaks in central and northeastern Oklahoma will receive priority selection for this year's rebates, Ashwood said.
The SoonerSafe program will use a random computer drawing process to select names so each person who registers will have an equal chance to be selected, he said.
Those who receive a rebate will have until Sept. 30 to construct the safe room to FEMA standards and to submit all required documentation to the state.
To meet FEMA requirements, safe rooms cannot be installed before the rebate drawing.
A safe room refers to any above- or below-ground shelter that meets or exceeds FEMA guidelines.
Ashwood said the program is similar to safe room cash rebate programs offered by the state in 1999 and 2003.
Ashwood said he expects about 20,000 will apply for the approximately 500 available rebates.