Oklahoma Lawmaker Seeks Study of Storm Shelters Incentives

June 9, 2011

Giving Oklahomans better access to storm shelters during severe weather is the focus of a proposed legislative study.

Rep. Pat Ownbey of Ardmore says Oklahomans were reminded how vulnerable they can be when several tornadoes ripped through the state last month. Ownbey says lawmakers should take a look at incentives for having storm shelters that better protect Oklahomans.

In 1999, the Federal Emergency Management Agency began the Oklahoma Residential Shelter Initiative. The rebate program was funded with $12 million in federal hazard mitigation funds and resulted in the creation of 6,016 safe room shelters throughout Oklahoma.

In 2003, Oklahoma authorized Operation Safe Room, a similar rebate program giving more than $3 million in rebates by paying 75 percent of the cost of a storm shelter, up to $2,000.

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