Ohio homeowners may be eligible for tornado safe room rebate

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio homeowners who want to construct a tornado shelter on their property may be eligible for a rebate of up to 75%, according to state emergency officials.

The Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program began taking applications Jan. 6, and the application process will continue through April 6. A safe room is a structure specifically designed to provide near-absolute protection in extreme weather events, according to a release from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Safe rooms can be installed beneath the home, in the basement or beneath the floor, or inside a first-floor room. They can also be buried in a yard or work stand-alone structures near a home.

More than 900 homes and buildings were destroyed or significantly damaged when 21 tornadoes tore through Auglaize, Darke, Greene, Hocking, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Muskingum, Perry, and Pickaway counties last May, the agency said.

The shelter program, which began in 2012, receives several hundred applications a year, but has funds to award rebates to only about 100 homeowners, according to the Ohio EMA. A computer will randomly draw the winning recipients, who must be single-family residential homeowners.

The maximum rebate is $4,875.