UPDATE: Friday, 5/31 The North Central Texas Council of Governments says online applications will be accepted starting Wednesday, June 5th instead of Monday.
Starting Monday, the North Central Texas Council of Governments will take online applications for FEMA rebates on tornado safe rooms. Officials say demand is growing after this month’s tornadoes in North Texas and Oklahoma.
Nora Castaneda with the Council of Governments says rebates run up to $3,000, and there are a few restrictions: you can’t live in floodplain, and you must live in the four metro counties: Dallas, Tarrant, Denton and Collin.
“We anticipate being able to fund, at least – at the very minimum – 440 safe rooms amongst the four counties," Castaneda explained. "So that would leave each county with 110 safe rooms.”
In Dallas, Tim Arp with ArmourGuard Storm Shelter and Safe Rooms, says cost for an indoor safe room runs about $6-10,000 dollars: $3,000 more for underground, below the garage floor. He says demand for shelters spiked after the 16 tornados raked North Texas and the EF5 hit Moore Oklahoma this month. He says he got 200 calls a day, from near and far.
“I’ve got a couple that’s moving to Southlake from Denver Colorado. So, there’s some big concerns," Arp said, noting the wife's nervousness about moving to tornado alley. "They’re moving in the middle of next month and we’re setting the shelter before she gets here.”
Arp says his customers are usually in their 40’s, with families. And most of the shelters he’s installed are in Tarrant County.
“We’re Dallas based, so we sell all over North Texas. But because of the rebate programs last year, we have more shelters in Tarrant County than any other county," Arp said. "If you pinpoint it, for some reason, Keller, Texas: we have more shelters in Keller, Texas than any other city.”
Nora Castaneda expects the 2013 Metro Safe Room Rebate Program to be very popular.