FEMA Grant to Help Install Storm Shelters

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All 67 counties in the state are qualified to receive a Hazard Mitigation Grant from FEMA.

What that means for residents, financial help from the agency if you're thinking about installing a storm shelter.

Ozark resident, Jerry Deloney has one more lawn ornament to add to his yard.

Except this one could save his life.

"My wife has been mentioning it for a year or two and after this big crisis in North Alabama she says definitely we're getting it," said Deloney.

After April’s deadly tornadoes, more people are considering storm shelters.

And FEMA is helping cover costs with a hefty grant.

"Hazard Mitigation is anything that will go to prevent loss of life, damage to property. Anybody who wants to apply for a shelter grant can get up to 75% of the cost of the shelter reimbursed by FEMA or up to 4-thousand dollars," said Robert Marsh, Dale County EMA Director.

A shelter that seats about 8 people will cost a buyer about 6-thousand dollars.

Installing the shelter takes less than 3 hours but the same can't be said for the paperwork.

"This is an application right here for shelters, see, that's a lot of work," said Marsh.

"We have to make sure that the shelter is not going to disturb any endangered species or have them disturb a historical sight or something like that,” said Marsh.

Another catch, you have to pay for the costs up front.

Then, wait for the reimbursement from FEMA.

“That can be anywhere from 4-thousand to 7-thousand dollars depending on what shelter you want, how big your family is,” said Marsh.

Deloney may have missed the savings from FEMA but he's gained a sense of security.

“I think it is going to be a good investment. I am not sure on how much return on my investment other then my life and my family...well that's priceless...priceless,” said Deloney.

There is a lot of paperwork and red tape to go through with this grant.

A list of applicants has to be submitted by June 24th.

An application for the grant has to be submitted by September 1st.

From there the request will be sent to the state and then to FEMA for approval.

It could take several months until counties are notified if they received the funding.

If you would like to know if your county is participating contact your local EMA director.

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