EATON — The Preble County EMA along with the State of Ohio EMA is once again announcing applications will be accepted for the Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program. Homeowners throughout Ohio now have the opportunity to apply to receive reimbursement for the purchase and construction/installation of a tornado safe room inside or outside their homes.
In 2019, the National Weather Service confirmed damage from three tornado touchdowns within Preble County as well as the 21 tornadoes that struck Darke and Montgomery Counties during the late night/early morning of May 27-28. The Memorial Day tornadoes killed two people and caused an estimated $1 billion in damages, proving to be the most destructive natural disaster in Ohio history.
Safe rooms offer protection from a tornado’s strong winds and resulting airborne debris and provides near-absolute protection for occupants. Safe rooms constructed and/or installed must meet FEMA requirements in accordance with FEMA publications 320 and/or 361. Safe rooms cannot be constructed/installed prior to the rebate drawing and notification from Ohio EMA to proceed with construction. Safe rooms can be constructed / installed in one of several places in the home, including in the basement; beneath a concrete slab-on-grade foundation or garage floor; or in an interior room on the first floor. A safe room may also be buried in the yard or be a stand-alone structure near the home.
The Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program uses a computerized random selection process to select applicants. A priority list of applicants will be created from the selected applicants. Chosen homeowners will be notified by e-mail of their position on the priority list on or after March 12. Residents selected are eligible for a rebate up to 75 percent of the cost to install or construct a safe room — to a maximum of $4,875. To apply for the Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program, homeowners have until 5 p.m. on March 5 to register on the Ohio EMA website: https://ema.ohio.gov/ema_saferoom/saferoom-concept.aspx.
For additional information on safe rooms or to view and download the FEMA publications, visit the FEMA website: https://www.fema.gov/residential-safe-rooms or contact Director David Anderson at 937-456-1243.