Kansas City, MO -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a grant of almost $70,000 to Flint Hills Technical College to help with the construction of two safe rooms at the Emporia, Kansas college.
Richard Hainje, FEMA regional director, said the funds would come through the agency's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. "Our goal in hazard mitigation is to reduce or eliminate the loss of life and property damage resulting from natural and human-caused hazards. A safe room is a wise investment, especially here in 'Tornado Alley,'" he added.
The school is undertaking a $5.8 million expansion that will include the construction of two shelter areas that will accommodate most of the nearly 400 students. One will be located in the existing main building, the other in the new technology building. As part of this facility improvement, the school has evaluated its existing safety plans and procedures. According to Dr. Lee Alderman, college president, the safe rooms were included to enhance their ability to protect students and faculty in any emergency. "We are in 'Tornado Alley,'" he said. "They hit close to home."
Safe rooms are designed to protect students and teachers from severe storms that produce high winds and often-deadly tornadoes common to this area of the state.
The $69,794 grant represents FEMA's contribution to the project. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $93,058. The local community will contribute $23,264 as the non-federal match requirement.
FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides 75 percent of the funds for approved projects that lessen or eliminate the loss of lives and property in future disasters. The remaining 25 percent must come from non-federal sources.
HMGP funds are based on a percentage of the estimated federal funds spent on the Public and Individual Assistance programs for each presidentially declared disaster. These federal funds were made available following the severe winter ice storm, which prompted a disaster declaration in January 2002.
The state of Kansas, through the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, will administer and disperse the federal funds. The state determines which projects will be forwarded to FEMA for consideration and funding.
For more information on the design and construction of community shelters visit www.fema.gov/mit/saferoom/. For information on residential safe-room construction, the FEMA booklet, "Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House" (publication #320) is available free by calling 1-888-565-3896.