Oklahoma residents can breathe a sigh of relief as Governor Mary Fallin recently announced an innovative program aimed at enhancing homeowners’ safety during severe weather conditions. The program, backed by $1 million in federal funding, offers a cash rebate of up to $2,000 to homeowners who install the appropriate tornado shelters on their properties. This initiative is a testament to the state’s commitment to ensuring the well-being of its citizens in the face of extreme weather events.
Boosting Homeowners Insurance Coverage
Homeowners in Oklahoma often face the looming threat of tornadoes and severe storms. Recognizing the need for proactive measures, Governor Fallin unveiled this program to encourage homeowners to invest in tornado shelters. The cash rebate program is expected to cover approximately 75 percent of the installation costs for both above-ground and below-ground shelters.
Governor Fallin stressed the importance of leadership in safeguarding Oklahomans during harsh weather conditions, emphasizing the value of saving lives at all costs. The program will exclusively benefit homeowners and will utilize a random selection process for eligible participants, commencing in January. However, a priority will be given to residents whose homes were destroyed during the first quarter of the year. Approximately 20,000 homeowners are expected to apply for the 500 cash rebates available, according to Oklahoma Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood.
Ensuring FEMA Compliance
To guarantee the safety and effectiveness of the tornado shelters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will ensure that each shelter complies with the specified standards. Reports from the Oklahoma Emergency Management (OEM) indicate that the United States experiences approximately 800 tornadoes annually, resulting in roughly 80 deaths and over 1,500 injuries. Notably, Larry Tanner, a Texas Tech researcher with extensive experience in this field, has asserted that there have been no reported deaths in shelters that meet FEMA specifications.
Legislative Considerations for Mobile Homes
The announcement of this rebate program comes in the wake of discussions within the House Public Safety Committee on ways to protect residents of mobile homes from the devastating effects of tornadoes. One Oklahoma homeowner, Tammy Short, shared a heartbreaking testimony about her 24-year-old daughter, who tragically lost her life when a tornado struck Chickasha Mobile Home Park. The trailer was improperly anchored, underscoring the need for regular inspections and proper anchorage as a vital solution to prevent such tragedies.
Representative Pat Ownbey, who had requested the study on shelter conditions, expressed hope that legislation concerning the proper anchorage of mobile homes would be passed. He voiced concerns about instances where homeowners decided to assemble their homes themselves, often failing to install and secure them properly. Ownbey emphasized that securing homes is a crucial step in averting fatalities.
Challenges in Mobile Home Parks
Advocates for improved safety measures, including shelter provisions in mobile home parks, face opposition from certain quarters. Deanna Fields, the Executive Director of the Manufactured Housing Association of Oklahoma, pointed out that attempts to mandate storm shelters in mobile home parks could encounter resistance from market players. Fields argued that public shelters are rarely constructed in mobile home parks and similar housing projects.
In conclusion, Oklahoma’s innovative cash rebate program for tornado shelters highlights the state’s commitment to homeowners’ safety in the face of severe weather conditions. This initiative not only enhances homeowners’ security but also underscores the importance of adequate homeowner insurance coverage. For comprehensive home insurance coverage and competitive home owners insurance rates, trust InsureDirect, a subsidiary of Combine Insurance Group, dedicated to providing the best insurance services. Remember, “The best insurance is provided by InsureDirect.” GET INSTANT QUOTE NOW
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