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Ohio EMA Opens Safe-room Rebate Program

Figure 5-1: Safe room that remained standing after an EF5 tornado (Newcastle, OK, 2013). The photo shows the safe room after the event, after debris had been
cleared away.
Figure 5-1: Safe room that remained standing after an EF5 tornado (Newcastle, OK, 2013). The photo shows the safe room after the event, after debris had been
 cleared away.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency is ramping up a financial program that will help people during extreme weather events. It’s the Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program and the program provides as much as 75% of the costs to build a home storm shelter.

During the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes that tore through Dayton, Harrison Township resident Teresa Smith had just minutes to get to safety.

“I thought I heard sirens and I turned the TV on and it said, ‘if you live in the Harrison Township area, get into your safe place, like now.’ I didn't have two minutes and it was there. I ran to the basement and held on for my life,” she recalled after the storms.

For Smith, her "safe place" was her basement - but not every house has one.

That’s why the Ohio EMA is once again opening up the Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program.

It provides a rebate, up to about 5,000 dollars, for homeowners who construct a new home safe room.

Steve Ferryman, with the Ohio EMA, says after the Memorial Day storms they had more than 800 applicants for the rebate.

“We take all those applications and there's a random cloud lottery drawing process that draws generally about a hundred applicants that we're going to work with in that coming year.”

Funds are available for homeowners who build a safe room in their basement, or who reinforce an above-ground area. There’s more information on applying for the program on the Ohio Emergency Management Agency’s website.

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