MOORE — U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, recently introduced legislation that would help families use disaster loans to build tornado safe rooms.
The Tornado Family Safety Act —House Resolution 2908/Senate 1440 — allows Small Business Administration disaster home mitigation loans to go toward the construction of safe rooms.
Under current law, in an effort to decrease future disaster risk, SBA can increase the size of a home disaster loan by 20 percent of the total damage for mitigation activities as disaster victims rebuild their homes.
Following this year’s May 20 tornado in Moore, Mayor Glenn Lewis proposed a requirement that all homes rebuilt include a safe room, but many people may have trouble affording the extra cost.
“We have seen far too many times the devastation that tornadoes can cause to families,” Landrieu said.
“The best way to withstand these disasters is to be prepared before they happen. That is why I want to thank my colleague, Rep. Tom Cole, for his partnership in this effort, as his district has seen firsthand how destructive these tornadoes can be to homes and businesses.
“Allowing impacted families to use these SBA mitigation loans for tornado safe rooms is a common-sense way to keep families safe in the path of future tornadoes and other possible dangers.”
Under guidelines from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the International Code Council, a safe room should withstand 250 mph winds and the impact of a 15-pound plank hitting a wall at 100 mph, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.
Safe rooms designed to the FEMA and ICC standards are recommended for both tornadoes and hurricanes. For individual homes, a safe room could range anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000
“I am pleased to introduce the House version of the Tornado Family Safety Act with my colleague, Sen. Mary Landrieu,” Cole said. “As we’ve seen in years past and most recently in May, tornadoes can cause unbelievable destruction to entire neighborhoods and shake communities. No one could expect the monstrous storm that tore through my hometown on May 20, but as we rebuild, it makes sense to construct homes that are prepared to face future disasters.