AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Living in an area prone to outbreaks of severe storms and tornadoes, chances are good that at some point you have had to take shelter from a serious weather threat.
In most situations, homes offer adequate shelter-but that’s not always the case.
I have toured many damaged scenes and, unfortunately, in the worst case scenarios you may only be able to survive underground or in a specially built tornado shelter.
The percentage of homes in our area equipped with such a shelter is surprisingly low.
In an effort to raise the level of safety for residents in the Texas panhandle a special grant has been refunded which is designed to increase the number of home storm shelters by making them more affordable with some financial assistance.
With the grant money, selected applicants are awarded a rebate for much of the costs of storm shelter installation.
Lori Gunn, the Regional Services Program Coordinator, explained that it is a great rebate program that offers up to a 50 percent refund for the cost of getting a shelter installed.
She said average cost can be between $5,000 to $6,000 for installation before rebate.
Shelters can be installed either above or below ground, they just need to meet certain building specifications.
As you may expect, the financial aid program is sought after by many residents hoping to install a shelter affordably.
Gunn tells us she gets many phone calls every year when we get into storm season and that this program definitely generates a lot of interest.
Over the years the funding has assisted in approximately 2900 shelters.
In fact, people are lined up and ready to be funded, but interested residents should go ahead and apply in order to be considered in the future.
Gunn said there is currently a wait list, but people should go to the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission’s web site to make an application to be entered in the system.
Tornadoes and destructive storms will continue to be a threat- that’s the bad news. But you have the First Alert Storm Track team using a lot of technology to monitor storms and let you know when to take shelter.
Now there is assistance in place to help some obtain that shelter, now that’s some good news!