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Seneca County EMA to showcase safe room shelter at annual 4th of July celebration




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Tiffin, Ohio — In a bid to enhance public safety and raise awareness about the importance of tornado preparedness, the Seneca County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) will be presenting a full-size Safe Room Shelter at the upcoming 4th of July celebration at Hedges-Boyer Park. The display aims to educate residents about the effectiveness of safe rooms in mitigating the life-threatening risks posed by tornadoes.

The showcased model, constructed by the EMA, features an in-ground safe room made of polyethylene rotational molded plastic. Once properly installed, the only visible components above ground are the air vent and door, which adhere to the safety and construction criteria prescribed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This particular design represents just one of several options available for safe room construction, including above-ground exterior safe rooms, basement and garage-specific designs, and closet retrofits.

Tornadoes and high wind events can strike at any time of the year and in any location across the state of Ohio. Citing the State of Ohio Hazard Mitigation Plan, it is reported that between 1950 and 2000 alone, 731 tornadoes ravaged the state, resulting in over 200 deaths and causing billions of dollars in damages. In fact, three of the last four Presidential Disaster Declarations in Ohio were declared due to wind events.

Recognizing the vital role that safe rooms play in protecting lives during tornadoes, the Seneca County EMA is offering qualifying homeowners an opportunity to receive rebates of up to 75% (with a maximum of $4,875) to cover the allowable costs associated with safe room installation and construction. This annual program, subject to federal and/or state funding, randomly selects recipients from eligible applicants until the allocated funding is exhausted. To stay informed about the next application period, interested individuals can email [email protected] or sign up at the Safe Room display during the 4th of July event. Please note that the application period for 2023 has already closed, but a new one will be announced for 2024.

The Safe Room display, located near the tennis courts and inflatables, will be open to the public throughout the day. Seneca County EMA Administrator, John Spahr, will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 3 p.m. until dusk to answer questions about Safe Rooms, severe weather preparedness, and how residents can better protect themselves and their families.

For more information and to engage in a crucial conversation about tornado safety and preparedness, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Seneca County EMA’s Safe Room Shelter display at the 4th of July celebration in Hedges-Boyer Park. Remember, being prepared can make all the difference when it comes to safeguarding lives during severe weather events.

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