Oklahoma City homeowners have a chance to receive up to a $2,500 rebate on the purchase and installation of a storm shelter, thanks to a $2.075 million grant funded by the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma.
Homeowners who live in the Oklahoma City limits can apply through Sept. 30 at www.okc.gov to participate in the program.
A total of 830 rebates will be available to addresses chosen by an electronic lottery.
A maximum reimbursement of $2,500 is available per home selected. Industry experts estimate shelters range in price from $2,000 to $8,000, according to an Oklahoma City news release.
The city will select 400 homes from Ward 5, which was hit hardest by the May 2013 tornadoes. Sixty-one homeowners will be chosen from each of the other seven wards.
Storm shelter recipients will be notified by mail and given 30 days to return a voluntary participation notice.
The storm shelter can be installed only after participants receive a notice to proceed from the city. Recipients will then have nine months to install the shelter.
Preference will be given to homeowners in Oklahoma City whose homes were destroyed or significantly damaged by tornadoes in May 2013 and had to be demolished. Those residents are eligible for the lottery even if they installed a shelter after rebuilding or relocating within city limits.
A storm shelter is any above- or below-ground shelter that provides protection from a tornado and meets or exceeds FEMA 320 or 361 guidelines.
Importance of being prepared
“I’d like to thank the Red Cross of Central Oklahoma for making the 2014 city of Oklahoma City storm shelter program possible,” Emergency Manager Frank Barnes said. “Having a storm shelter in your home is the best way to protect your family during a tornado.”
Janienne Bella, Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma regional CEO, said, “Preparedness is one of the many areas the Red Cross is focusing on as communities continue to recover from the May 2013 tornadoes. We know this grant will provide many families the opportunity to better prepare for emergencies and build stronger and more resilient communities.”
The grant to Oklahoma City is part of the $10.3 million awarded by the Red Cross to affected communities, which should support the installation of as many as 4,000 shelters. Oklahoma municipalities, counties and tribes receiving the Red Cross grants include the city of Newcastle, city of Midwest City, city of Norman, Pottawatomie County (program administered by the city of Shawnee), Cleveland County, Canadian County, the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
How to apply
Oklahoma City homeowners can apply at www.okc.gov or pick up an application at the city clerk’s office on the second floor of City Hall, 200 N Walker.