SoonerSafe Frequently Asked Questions
1. Q. What is the SoonerSafe - Safe Room Rebate Program?
A. A program to provide a rebate for purchase and installation of safe rooms for Oklahoma homeowners.
2. Q. What is a safe room?
A. For the purposes of this program, the term safe room will include any above or below ground shelter in which the design, construction, and installation comply with the 2008 versions of FEMA Publications 320 (Taking Shelter from the Storm) and FEMA 361 (Design and Construction Criteria for Community Safe Rooms), as well as ICC 500 (Standards for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters.
3. Q. When is the safe room rebate registration deadline for this program?
A. There is no deadline. The online application is open 365 days a year.
4. Q. How is the SoonerSafe Safe Room Rebate Program funded?
A. The funds are provided through the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. OEM must comply with all federal grant regulations for each safe room rebate recipient, to include eligibility of properties, documentation, etc.
5. Q. How will I be notified if I am selected for a rebate?
A. You will be notified via the email address you provide when you register. Please be sure to use an email address you check regularly. You may also log in to your account at any time to check the status.
6. Q. If my application is selected, what will I need to do to receive my rebate?
A. You will need to complete the following three steps: 1.) confirm your participation on SoonerSafe.com; 2.) have a safe room installed on your property following the guidelines in the SoonerSafe Rules and Regulations; 3.) submit the required documentation to OEM by September 30, 2012 (see question 8 for more information on what documentation is required).
7. Q. If my application is selected, how long do I have to get my safe room installed?
A. Your deadline to install the safe room on your property and submit the required documentation will be associated with your selection period. (see question 8 for more information on what documentation is required). However, please note that you must confirm your participation on SoonerSafe.com in order to continue with the program.
8. Q. What documentation am I required to submit to receive my rebate?
A. You must submit your paid invoice(s) showing the total cost of safe room purchase and installation, along with a completed SoonerSafe Certificate of Installation to attest that the safe room’s design, construction, and installation complies with the 2008 versions of FEMA Publications 320 (Taking Shelter from the Storm) and FEMA 361 (Design and Construction Criteria for Community Safe Rooms), as well as ICC 500 (Standards for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters). The certificate must be signed by the safe room installer and submitted to OEM by the deadline associated with your selection period. Please send all documentation to: SoonerSafe, c/o: Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, P.O. Box 53365, Oklahoma City, OK 73152
9. Q. How long will it take to receive my check after I install my safe room and provide required documentation and how will it be sent to me?
A. Your submitted documentation will be reviewed by OEM. We may contact you if additional information is needed. Once your documents are deemed complete, SoonerSafe will email you a final form to sign which will ask for information including the address where you would like your check mailed. Once your rebate check returns to OEM, we will mail it immediately by certified mail to the address you provided. This process may take up to ten weeks.
10. Q. My application was selected for a rebate, but I have moved recently. Can I install a safe room at an address that is different from the address listed on my SoonerSafe application?
A. Not at this time. However, if you update the address on your SoonerSafe account, you may be eligible for future SoonerSafe safe room rebate opportunities.
11. Q. If I am selected, am I required to install a safe room?
A. No. Once you are notified that you have been selected, you will have 30 days to confirm your participation. You may choose not to participate at this time but still be eligible for future selection. However, if you confirm that you will participate in the program and do not install safe room on your property and submit required documentation to OEM by the deadline, you will NOT be eligible for future safe room rebate opportunities.
12. Q. Why do I need a safe room?
A. Safe rooms save lives. In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, resulting in 80 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries. A safe room provides a shield of protection for you and your family.
13. Q. How do I register for this safe room rebate program?
A. You may register online at www.soonersafe.ok.gov. Registering ensures you will be considered for the program, but does not guarantee that you will receive a rebate.
14. Q. Does registering on this website mean that I will receive a rebate?
A. Registering ensures you will be considered for the program, but does not guarantee that you will receive a rebate.
15. Q. How will you select who receives rebates?
A. The SoonerSafe - Safe Room Rebate Program will use a random selection process so that everyone who registers will have an equal chance to be selected.
16. Q. What is the maximum rebate amount that I could receive?
A. A maximum rebate of $2,000 is available per home, not to exceed 75 percent of the actual cost of the safe room.
17. Q. What types of shelters are eligible for the rebate?
A. Any type of safe room is eligible for the rebate as long as it meets or exceeds the specifications set forth in the 2008 versions of FEMA Publications 320 (Taking Shelter from the Storm) and FEMA 361 (Design and Construction Criteria for Community Safe Rooms), as well as ICC 500 (Standards for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters. Also, many local building codes require a permit and inspection by local building inspectors. Retrofitting an existing storm shelter to meet FEMA specifications does not qualify, however. Only new safe rooms are eligible.
18. Q. What types of homes are eligible for safe rooms?
A. The safe room must be installed by individual homeowners in primary residences and must be installed on property owned by the applicant. The program is limited to single-family homes.
19. Q. I live in a mobile home. Am I eligible for this rebate?
A. Perhaps. Mobile home residents must own both the mobile home itself and the land it is located on to be eligible for the rebate.
20. Q. I live in a rented house, but I want to build a safe room. Can I get this rebate?
A. No. Only single-family residential homeowners are eligible to receive the rebate for their primary residence.
21. Q. Is an apartment complex, duplex or other multi-family residence eligible for this rebate?
A. No. For the purpose of this initiative, apartment complexes, duplexes or other multi-family residences are considered businesses. This safe room rebate program is for individual homeowners, not businesses.
22. Q. I own two or more homes. Can I register for a safe room rebate for each home I own?
A. No. You are only eligible for a rebate for your primary residence.
23. Q. I would like to install a community or neighborhood safe room. Am I eligible for this rebate?
A. No. The rebate is for individual homeowners only.
24. Q. If I have already installed my safe room or am having it installed now, am I eligible for this rebate?
A. No. Previously installed safe rooms are not eligible.
25. Q. Can multiple people in my household register for a rebate?
A. No. Only one person may register per physical home address.
26. Q. Can I mail or fax in a registration form instead of submitting it online?
A. No. Registration is only available online at www.soonersafe.ok.gov.
27. Q. Can I change my address or other information on my application after I register?
A. Yes. You may log back in to your account at any time to update your information; however, any address changes will require additional verification.
28. Q. I cannot remember my account login information. How can I access my account?
A. There is an option on the account login page to reset your lost password or recover your lost username.
29. Q. My home was destroyed in a tornado. I plan to rebuild my home in a different location than my previous home. Am I eligible for a rebate if I install a safe room?
A. Yes, as long as you are building in Oklahoma and it is your primary residence and have a valid FEMA registration number.
30. Q. My home was destroyed in Oklahoma and I am rebuilding my home out of state. Am I eligible for this rebate?
A. No. The safe room must be built in Oklahoma and you must have a valid FEMA registration number.
31. Q. I have an old shelter that is in disrepair. Can I get a rebate to fix it?
A. No. However, you may be eligible for a new safe room.
32. Q. Where should I install a safe room?
A. You can install a safe room in a new or existing home, either in an interior room on the first floor, underground on the first floor or as a detached above-ground or underground safe room and within 100 feet of the home. Wherever you install it, the safe room should be readily accessible to all occupants.
33. Q. What is the cost of a safe room?
A. Safe room construction costs vary depending on a number of factors including size and type of safe room. Construction industry experts estimate the cost to range from $2,500 to $8,000 or more.
34. Q. If I am selected, can I receive my rebate before my safe room is installed so that I can pay my contractor?
A. No. The rebate is only available as a partial reimbursement after construction is completed and you have submitted the required documentation.
35. Q. Am I eligible for a rebate if my home is in a floodplain and I have flood insurance?
A. Perhaps. You would not be eligible for a below ground safe room, but you may be eligible for an above ground safe room. However, other agencies will have to approve your specific situation. You may be required to provide more information as needed.
36. Q. I live in a historic property or in a historic district. Am I eligible for this rebate?
A. Perhaps. However, other agencies will have to approve your specific situation. You may be required to provide more information as needed.
37. Q. If my city or county is also offering a safe room rebate program, can I participate in both?
A. Yes. This program will not affect city or county residential safe room rebate programs. If a program is being offered in your city or county, you may register for that rebate program also, as that will give you an additional opportunity to receive a rebate.
38. Q. If I am eligible to receive the rebate, will I have to claim it as income on my taxes?
A. No. The safe room rebate is exempt from tax liability as a federally funded assistance program.
39. Q. If I build a safe room, can I claim any tax exemptions?
A. Yes. The Oklahoma Constitution provides for up to one hundred square feet of a Safe room installed after January 1, 2002 shall be exempt from taxation.
40. Q. Am I eligible for any kind of State or Federal tax incentive if I build or install a safe room?
A. No. There are no State or Federal tax incentives associated with this safe room rebate program at this time.