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Consumer Alert: Tornado Victims Could be Eligible for Safe Room Rebates

As the state continues to recover from the devastating storms of April 27, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert today to make sure that affected Arkansans know that assistance is available to them to help them rebuild.
LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) – As the state continues to recover from the devastating storms of April 27, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert today to make sure that affected Arkansans know that assistance is available to them to help them rebuild.

In addition, McDaniel said all Arkansas consumers should be aware of a rebate program administered by the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) that helps defray the cost of a storm shelter/safe room.

“We have seen a remarkable outpouring of support and assistance for tornado victims from everyday Arkansans and from disaster-relief agencies that make it their job to help those affected,” McDaniel said. “I encourage anyone who needs assistance to take advantage of the programs that are available, and I hope that other consumers will consider taking steps to protect themselves in case of severe weather in the future.”

Those impacted by the April 27 storms and who live in Faulkner, Pulaski, White and Randolph counties may register for government disaster assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by calling (800) 621-3362. In addition, Mobile Registration Intake Centers are open in Vilonia, Mayflower, Little Rock and Searcy to help people register for assistance and check the status of their applications.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that Thursday, May 8, a Disaster Recovery Center will open in Mayflower at 600 Highway 365. That center will be open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Specialists from the state, FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration, the IRS, the American Red Cross and other agencies will be at the Disaster Recovery Center to answer questions.

FEMA also has teams canvassing affected neighborhoods and providing information to storm victims. FEMA stressed that their representatives wear FEMA shirts and have FEMA badges.

For other Arkansans who are considering installation of a storm shelter/safe room, ADEM will administer a $1.25 million rebate program to assist homeowners who install a tornado shelter at their primary residence.

According to ADEM, eligible consumers may receive a rebate of up to 50 percent of the cost of the shelter, or $1,000, whichever is less. The shelter must be installed before a consumer applies for funding, and a local emergency management coordinator must verify installation of the safe room.

In order to be eligible for a safe room rebate, consumers must complete an application form, provide proof of cost and proof of payment, supply photos that show the inside connections on the doors and hinges (doors must have three hinges and three slide bolts or dead bolts.)

For above-ground shelters, the safe room must be built to specifications of FEMA Publication 320. (Visit www.fema.gov for more information about FEMA Publication 320).

For more information about the Arkansas Shelter Rebate Program, click here.

McDaniel said his Consumer Protection Division continues to provide assistance to those affected by the storm and will answer questions about possible scams related to charitable giving or home improvements and repairs. Contact the Consumer Protection Division at (800) 482-8982 or click here.
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