Countywide program offers storm shelter assistance

 

A countywide effort has been launched to help assist area residents with storm shelter rebates — thanks to a federal grant program administered by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

The Grady County Emergency Management is teaming up in hopes of submitting an application for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The money will be used to offer a rebate to qualified Grady County residents who sign up for and are chosen for the program.

Meetings are planned for Tuttle, Rush Springs, and Chickasha for all interested Grady County residents to learn more about the program and its requirements, and provide sign-up forms for anyone wishing to participate.

 

City of Tuttle, Friday March 16th

  • Tuttle City Hall at 221 W. Main Street, 11a.m to 2 p.m.

 

Town of Rush Springs, Friday Evening March 16th

  • Rush Springs Lions Club Building at 200 W. Blakely, 5- 7 p.m.

 

Chickasha, Saturday March 17th

  • Canadian Valley Tech Center at 1401 W. Michigan Ave in Room B, 11a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

Any Grady County resident is welcome to attend any or all of the meetings.

According to officials, an additional storm shelter rebate program has been a goal for Grady County for a while.

“We’ve been thinking about doing another shelter program for some time, but the process was so cumbersome,” said Director of Emergency Management, Dale Thompson. “The State has made it a lot easier, and we’re excited to get started.”

Thompson said the need for the program became evident during another countywide effort — the comprehensive Hazard Mitigation Plan, a multi-agency overview designed to ensure prompt, efficient response during emergencies.

“We recently completed the update of our hazard mitigation plan, which was also a joint effort with-in the county,” Thompson said. “The plan analyzed our vulnerability to tornadoes and recommended that we implement another program to offer financial incentives for residents to install storm shelters.”

There are some requirements and specific criteria that must be met to qualify for the program; for instance, recipients of the rebates must own the property and it must be the primary residence. Mobile home owners must own the land where the shelter will be placed. And perhaps most importantly, the rebate will not be available to property owners who have already installed a shelter.

Details of the program and requirements will be discussed during the public meetings, said Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management’s Melissa Moore.

“The requirements to participate in the rebate program will be explained at all three planned meetings, and residents can fill out an application to participate,” Thompson said.

For an application to be submitted for the funding, at least 150 Grady County residents must apply to participate, Thompson said.

“We really need our county’s residents to turn out to these meetings and fill out an application form to show widespread interest in the program,” Thompson said.

“Filling out the application doesn’t obligate anyone to install a shelter; it just shows that we have enough interest here to qualify for the funding,” said Thompson.

Depending on the number of applicants, the recipients of the money could be chosen from a random drawing, said Moore.

“There will likely be a random drawing, if we get more applications than we have funding,” Moore said.

Once the meetings are held and at least 150 applications are collected, Thompson will work to submit the paperwork to the state for processing. An application will then be submitted for the federal funding by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

The meetings and the application submission are the first steps toward launching the program, but the process could take up to a year “from start to finish,” Moore said.

For more information, please plan to attend one of the meetings set for March 16th in Tuttle or Rush Springs, and/or in Chickasha, on March 17th

 

 

 

 

 

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