SAFE ROOMS IN OKLAHOMA - DID YOU KNOW?
- Oklahoma has taken extraordinary steps in promoting the life-saving benefits of safe rooms and leads the country in having the largest quantity of safe rooms constructed in a state.
- The state is a national leader in safe rooms and has supported the construction of more than 11,000 residential safe rooms and 85 school safe rooms using federal grants.
- Oklahoma has a creative initiative called the SoonerSafe Safe Room Rebate Program, which today serves as a model for supporting the construction of safe rooms through state and federal funding.
- Following the May 3, 1999 tornado, Oklahoma initiated the first safe room rebate program in the Nation. A second iteration of the rebate program followed the 2003 Oklahoma tornado outbreaks.
- In 2011, the state initiated the SoonerSafe Safe Room Rebate Program, which provides annual grants as opposed to only after a disaster.
- Because of the 1999 rebate program, the Oklahoma State Constitution allowed for tax exemptions for the construction of safe rooms up to 100 square feet that were installed after January 1, 2002.
- In addition to the state rebate program, Oklahoma and FEMA have worked with counties and municipalities in their efforts to provide additional localized safe room rebate programs.
- The local level programs require municipalities and counties to serve as the mitigation grant applicant, to manage the program and be responsible for securing a 25 percent funding match.
- The State and FEMA plan to continue this innovative partnership following the recent tornado outbreak in central Oklahoma.