SoonerSafe Rules & Regulations
The SoonerSafe - Safe Room Rebate Program was developed in 2011 by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to provide a rebate for purchase and installation of safe rooms for Oklahoma homeowners.
Oklahoma is providing this safe room rebate program through FEMA Hazard Mitigation grants. Therefore ODEMHS must comply with all federal grant regulations for each rebate recipient, to include eligibility of properties, required documentation, etc.
Please read ALL SoonerSafe Rules & Regulations carefully to ensure your eligibility for a safe room rebate and to ensure your application meets all federal grant guidelines associated with this program. ODEMHS and FEMA must review each application and associated documentation submitted to ensure guidelines are met should you be randomly selected as a winner.
The intent of ODEMHS is to offer this program on an annual basis, contingent upon federal funding.
Beginning in 2024, eligible homeowners who have not yet received a safe room rebate will need to register annually for the program.
SoonerSafe may contact applicants by email or telephone if additional information is needed for an application.
About Safe Rooms
For the purposes of this program, the term safe room will include any above or below ground residential shelter which meets or exceeds guidelines stated in the most recent versions of FEMA Publications 320 (Taking Shelter from the Storm) and FEMA 361 (Design and Construction Criteria for Community Safe Rooms), as well as ICC 500 (Standards for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters).
For more information about safe rooms or to download a copy of these publications, which contain recommended construction plans for safe rooms, visit the FEMA website.
Safe rooms save lives. In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, resulting in 80 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries. A safe room provides a shield of protection for you and your family.
Safe rooms have been proven to be tremendously safe. Studies demonstrate that a safe room can survive winds as high as 250 miles per hour (Source: FEMA Publication 320).
How the Program Works
You may register for the SoonerSafe - Safe Room Rebate Program online at www.soonersafe.ok.gov. The registration period will be open each year beginning January 15. Registering ensures you will be considered for the program, but does not guarantee that you will receive a rebate.
Beginning in 2024, the program requires annual registration for eligible homeowners who are still seeking a safe room rebate.
The program will use a random selection process to select names so that everyone who registers will have an equal chance to be selected. For that reason, the order of registration does not improve the odds of being selected.
A maximum rebate of $3,000* is available per home, not to exceed 75 percent of the actual cost of the safe room. (*Note: this amount increased for 2024. The maximum rebate amount in 2023 and prior years was $2,000).
Only one person may register per physical home address.
The randomly selected recipients will be notified after each selection period. You will be notified if you are selected for the rebate via the email address and/or phone number you provide when you register. Drawings will not occur on a specific date or month of the year, therefore please be sure to use an email address you check regularly.
If your application is selected, you will need to complete the following three steps: 1.) Confirm your participation; 2.) Have a safe room installed on your property following the guidelines in the SoonerSafe Rules and Regulations; 3.) Submit the required documentation (listed below) to ODEMHS by the deadline associated with your selection period. If you do not know your deadline, please call the SoonerSafe team at email@example.com. These steps are listed in more detail below.
If You Are Selected to Receive a Rebate
If your application is selected, you will have 30 days to confirm your participation via the SoonerSafe website. At that time you may also choose not to participate, but still be eligible for a future rebate. Please note that you MUST complete this step within 30 days in order to move forward with the program. If we do not receive a confirmation within 30 days, your application will be removed from the rebate list.
Once you have confirmed your participation, you may then hire a contractor to install the safe room on your property and submit all of the required documentation (listed below) to ODEMHS by the deadline associated with your selection period. Please note that if you have installed your safe room prior to receiving notification of selection for SoonerSafe, you will no longer be eligible for a rebate, due to federal grant requirements.
All selected recipients must submit their paid invoice showing the total cost of safe room purchase and installation, along with a completed SoonerSafe Certificate of Installation to attest that the safe room’s design, construction, and installation complies with the most recent versions of FEMA Publications 320 (Taking Shelter from the Storm) and FEMA 361 (Design and Construction Criteria for Community Safe Rooms), as well as ICC 500 (Standards for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters). The certificate must be signed by the safe room installer and submitted to OEM by the deadline associated with your rebate selection period. OEM may request a copy of your check or credit card receipt after documents have been reviewed.
Please send all documentation to:
c/o: Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
PO Box 53365
Oklahoma City, OK 73152
The submitted documents will then be reviewed by ODEMHS and FEMA before rebate checks can be remitted to homeowners. The rebate check typically takes 6-8 weeks or a maximum of 12 weeks to arrive after all documentation has been submitted and reviewed.
You cannot receive your rebate before your safe room is installed. You also cannot receive the rebate if your safe room was purchased with a lease agreement as the safe room must be paid in full. The rebate is only available as a partial reimbursement after construction is completed and you have submitted the required documentation verifying that your safe room meets or exceeds all federal regulations associated with this program.
If you have moved to a new address since completing your SoonerSafe application and did not update the address, you will not be eligible for this drawing, however, you may register again at www.soonersafe.ok.gov during the next open registration period and your property meets all eligibility requirements, you may be eligible for a rebate the following year.
Any type of safe room is eligible for the rebate as long as it meets or exceeds the specifications set forth in the most recent versions of FEMA Publication 320 (Taking Shelter from the Storm) and FEMA 361 (Design and Construction Criteria for Community Safe Rooms), as well as ICC 500 (Standards for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters. Many local building codes require a permit and inspection by local building inspectors.
Additionally, you may have a safe room installed in a new or existing home, either in an interior room on the first floor, underground on the first floor, as a detached above-ground or underground safe room and within 100 feet of the home. Wherever you install it, the safe room should be readily accessible to all occupants.
Additional eligibility rules are as follows:
- To be eligible, the safe room must be installed at primary residences and must be installed on property owned by the applicant.
- Apartment complexes, duplexes, and other multi-family residences are not eligible for this rebate, as they are considered businesses. This safe room rebate program is for single-family homes only.
- If you own two or more homes, you may only register for a safe room rebate for your primary residence.
- Community or neighborhood safe rooms are not eligible for this rebate.
- If you live in a mobile home, you must own both the mobile home itself and the land it is located on to be eligible for the rebate.
- If you live in a rented house you are not eligible for this rebate. Only single-family residential homeowners are eligible to receive the rebate for their primary residence.
- If you have already installed a safe room, are having it installed now, or are planning to have it installed at any time prior to receiving notification that you have been selected as a SoonerSafe rebate recipient, that safe room is not eligible for this rebate. Previously installed safe rooms are not eligible.
- Retrofitting or repairing an existing storm shelter to meet FEMA specifications does not qualify. However, you may be eligible for a new safe room.
- You may not build or install the safe room yourself.
- If the safe room you choose to have installed is not a pre-fabricated or manufactured design, you or your contractor may be required to submit additional documentation to verify the safe room meets all federal regulations associated with this program.
- If your home is in a floodplain and you have flood insurance, you may be eligible for the rebate. You would not be eligible for a below ground safe room, but you may be eligible for an above ground safe room. However, other agencies will have to approve your specific situation. You may be required to provide more information.
- If you live on historic property, or in a historic district you may be eligible for the rebate. However, other agencies will have to approve your specific situation. You may be required to provide more information.
- If your home was destroyed in a tornado and you plan to rebuild your home in a different location than your previous home you are eligible for this rebate, as long as you are building in Oklahoma and it is your primary residence. However, you must contact the SoonerSafe team to verify the correct address has been submitted for review.
- If your home was destroyed in Oklahoma and you are rebuilding your home out of state you are not eligible for this rebate. The safe room must be built in Oklahoma.
- You must pay the total invoice for the safe room and installation in order to receive the rebate, as well as provide copies of the cleared check or credit card statement.
- Safe room lease agreements are not eligible.
- These Rules and Regulations apply to the SoonerSafe program only. Local city or county safe room rebate programs will have their own individual guidelines and you must contact them for further information.
The cost of a safe room varies depending on a number of factors, including size and type of safe room. Construction industry experts estimate the cost to range from $2,500 to $8,000 or more.
If you receive this rebate you will not have to claim it as income on your taxes. The safe room rebate is exempt from tax liability as a federally-funded assistance program.
The Oklahoma Constitution provides that up to 100 square feet of a safe room installed after January 1, 2002 shall be exempt from taxation.
There are no State or Federal tax incentives associated with this safe room rebate program at this time.