MEMA safe rooms

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2011

MEMA has grants for safe rooms

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is now accepting applications for its “A Safe Place to Go Program” to provide homeowners with grant funds to help install a safe room.

A safe room is an interior shelter in a small, windowless room that is easily accessible for an entire family. Safe rooms may be built into a home or placed below ground.

Through the program, the state can reimburse up to 75 percent of the eligible costs not to exceed $4,000 for a single-family safe room.

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The grant program is made available through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds that are administered by MEMA.

Residents affected by tornadoes and severe storms that struck the Mississippi counties including Panola between April 15 and April 28 may apply for the reimbursement program.

Priority to participate and receive funding will be given to those whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

MEMA has contacted homeowners whose homes were destroyed to make sure these individuals know to apply.

Homeowners with Internet access are encouraged to apply by visiting and clicking the “safe rooms” link. Free Internet access is also available at most public libraries.

“This tornado season has opened the eyes of a lot our residents to the importance of having a safe room in their home,” said MEMA Director Mike Womack.

“We hope people take advantage of this opportunity to help protect themselves from future storms,” he said.

To qualify for reimbursements, the safe room/shelter must be constructed according to FEMA’s design plans and construction criteria.