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Texas Council Offering Storm Shelter/Safe Room Rebates

Moore Tornado Damage
Cars marked with an orange 'X', denoting they had been checked for occupants, are piled up in what was the front entrance to the damaged Moore Medical Center after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 20, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. (credit: Brett Deering/Getty Images)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - With the recent deadly tornadoes that tore through North Texas and Oklahoma, more people are thinking about installing storm shelters or safe rooms. Now the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is helping some North Texas residents foot the bill for those rooms.

The NCTCOG is launching the Metro Safe Room Rebate Program to help North Texans cover some of their costs. "Basically this is a FEMA provided grant and residents may apply for half of the cost of the installation and construction of a safe room, up to $3,000," explained Emergency Preparedness Program Assistant Nora Castaneda.

With North Texas being in Tornado Alley there is always a market for and interest in safe rooms, but after six North Texans and dozens of Oklahoma residents lost their lives in separate tornadic events Castaneda said inquires are spiking. "I've had hundreds, if not thousands, of phone calls and inquiries, total. People are looking to jump on this opportunity."

The NCTCOG is working to expand funding for the program,. But for now, the grant is only available in certain locations. "The four main qualifications for our program is that they [applicant] must live within the four metro counties; which are Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant," Castaneda said.

Storm Shelter
A worker drills holes into the cement pad to anchor a safe room shelter. (credit: Julie Denesha/Getty Images)

Living in one of the four qualifying counties only meets part of the qualifications. Castaneda said there are other applicant restrictions. "They cannot live in a floodplain, or at least a FEMA designated 100-year floodplain."

Applicants should not start building until they have received notification that they have been selected for an award, and even then there are stipulations on who can build the safe room. To receive reimbursement applicants must contract with National Storm Shelter Association or American Tornado Shelter Association certified suppliers.

Click here to find out more about the online rebate application process. North Texans cannot begin applying for the rebate until the first business week in June.

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