Ohio EMA offers rebates for tornado safe rooms

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Emergency Management Agency is once again offering rebates to homeowners looking to install tornado safe rooms.

The rebates are offered through an annual program, but this year, the Ohio EMA points to the May tornadoes to show homeowners the importance of making sure you and your family have a place to go.

Bob Zugelder, who lives in Huber Heights, told 2 NEWS he used the rebate to buy a shelter and hid there the night of Memorial Day.

“You see it on the news, and you say, ‘Never going to hit here, never going to hit here,'” he said. “And it hit Dayton.”

Zugelder said he has only had to use the shelter once since he purchased it in 2018, but he’s grateful he made the investment since his home did not have a basement.

Shawn Cravens of Granger Plastics Company, which installed Zugelder’s tornado safe room, told 2 NEWS several of his clients used their shelters on Memorial Day.

“We had several installed in the area,” Cravens said. “Several homeowners, they did experience some damage, some slight damage. We have since then installed several dozen as well in the area.”

Most tornado shelters are installed outside the home, but some are built inside, Cravens said.

Cravens particularly urges homeowners without basements to consider the program.

According to the Ohio EMA, the program provides rebates of up to $4,875, or 75 percent of the cost to install a shelter.

“With changing weather patterns and the potential for more and more severe weather, it’s important to have a safe place to go,” said Jeffrey Jordan, Montgomery County EMA director.

Zugelder said he has since sold his home, but he brought the tornado shelter to his business in case he or his employees ever need it.

“We’re here Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6:00 each night,” Zugelder said. “And you just never know when it’s going to hit. Weather is weather.”

The Ohio EMA is accepting applications through April 6. To apply or learn more, click here.

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