Rebuilding Safer, Stronger, & Smarter in Oklahoma

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Hazard Mitigation

What is Hazard Mitigation?
How do I rebuild Safer, Stronger, and Smarter?
Are there videos demonstrating how to build a safe room or how to "harden" my home?
What is Mitigation Planning?
Where do I find out about the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)?
Are there any environmental or historic preservations considerations I should be aware of before rebuilding?
Are there any Best Practice stories or examples of homes that survived the tornadoes?
What is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Floodplain Management and why should it matter?
What is "Biggert-Waters" and where can I get more information?
Are there NFIP Publications available?

Hazard Mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of future disasters by taking action now—before the next disaster—to reduce human and financial consequences later (analyzing risk, reducing risk, insuring against risk).  Effective mitigation requires that we all understand local risks, address the hard choices, and invest in long-term community well-being. Without mitigation actions, we jeopardize our safety, financial security, and self-reliance.


FEMA Building Sciences - Rebuilding Safer, Stonger and Smarter

FEMA has multiple publications with information to help you and communities rebuild to be more resilient and disaster resistant to include Safe Room Resources.  In addition to the publications listed below, visit 2013 Tornadoes – Building Science Activities & Resources to view FEMA Building Science Branch's flyers, recovery advisories, technical bulletins, and fact sheets. Please check back often to view new material.

Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your Home or Small Business (FEMA P-320) - Having a safe room in your home or small business can help provide "near-absolute protection" for you and your family or your employees from injury or death caused by the dangerous forces of extreme winds. 

Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms (FEMA P-361) - This publication presents design, construction, and operation criteria for both residential and community safe rooms that will provide near-absolute life safety protection during tornado and hurricane events.

Tornado Protection: Selecting Refuge Areas in Buildings (FEMA P-431) - This booklet presents information that will aid qualified architects and engineers in the identification of the best available refuge areas in existing buildings.

Design Guidance for Shelters and Safe Rooms (FEMA 453) - The objective of this manual is to provide guidance for engineers, architects, building officials, and property owners to design shelters and safe rooms in buildings.

Safe Room and Community Shelter Resources CD (FEMA 388 CD) - On this CD, you will find displays, posters, handouts, multimedia, and other resources that provide information about mitigating for tornadoes or other high-wind events and about the importance of safe rooms and community shelter construction in saving lives during such events.

Community Safe Room Fact Sheet - This fact sheet provides information about safe rooms and explains that a safe room is a room or structure specifically designed and constructed to resist wind pressures and wind-borne debris impacts during an extreme-wind event, like tornadoes and hurricanes, for the purpose of providing life-safety protection.

Residential Safe Room Fact Sheet - This fact sheet provide information about residential safe rooms and explains that a safe room is a room or structure specifically de-signed and constructed to resist wind pressures and wind-borne debris impacts during an extreme-wind event, like tornadoes and hurricanes, for the purpose of providing life-safety protection.


Videos - Information on safe rooms and "hardening" of a home

What Makes a Safe Room Safe? - An animated illustration of the key Safe Room design elements that give a Safe Room "near absolute protection" from a severe storm, tornado or hurricane.

Building Stronger After a Tornado - Following tornadoes where homes are destroyed, some homeowners are strengthing their new homes by building safer structures.

Safe Room Technical Guidance Video - Interview with Bob Franke (FEMA Region VII) regarding FEMA P-320 (Taking Shelter From the Storm: Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business) and other guidance/research on regarding building a safe room.

Safe Room Construction Videos - These four videos depict how to construct a residential or business safe room. These videos do NOT have an audio component.


Mitigation Planning

State, Indian Tribal, and local officials develop and adopt mitigation plans to meet the requirements of the Stafford Act. The Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance provides the official guidance on these requirements and procedures for approval of hazard mitigation plans. The core steps in the graphic below show the process to complete a mitigation plan.


HMGP – Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

HMGP can be used to fund projects to protect either public or private property, as long as the project fits within State and local government mitigation strategies to address areas of risk and complies with HMGP guidelines.  Through your State Hazard Mitigation Officer, communities and Federally Recognized Tribes can learn how to develop an application for a Hazard Mitigation Grant.
FEMA provides a variety of hazard mitigation grants to states and communities.  To learn more, see the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Grant Programs Fact Sheet,


Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation

It is FEMA's policy to act with care to ensure that its disaster response and recovery, mitigation and preparedness responsibilities are carried out in a manner that is consistent with all Federal environmental and historic preservation policies and laws. To learn more how you can help with this process after the tornado, visit the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Heritage Emergency National Task Force. Also, read “Advice for Saving Damaged Family Treasures” for the care, protection, and restoration of family heirlooms, photos, and other keepsakes, or visit the National Archives for additional information.


Best Practices

FEMA collects Mitigation success stories, encourages the public to share their stories, and to review stories from other residents, it is known as the Best Practices Portfolio.  Over the course of the coming days, weeks, and months we will be developing these stories for you based on this last tornado, until then there have been other best practices from past events.

NFIP – National Flood Insurance Program and FloodPlain managment

The NFIP is designed to provide access to affordable, federally backed flood insurance protection for property owners in communities who participate in the NFIP.  These communities agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood risks.  You need to learn what your risks for flooding are before re-building visit the FEMA Map Service Center and RiskMap6 to learn more about flood maps in your community.

NFIP personnel conduct outreach and education programs on many topics, such as: substantial damage/substantial improvement, increased cost of compliance (ICC), and mitigation (which includes flood-proofing, relocation, elevation, and demolish/rebuild). 

The Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, also known as Biggert-Waters, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. It calls on FEMA, and other agencies, to make a number of changes to the way the NFIP is run.  These changes may impact your rebuilding efforts. 

To learn how these changes may effect you contact:

•Your local Floodplain Administrator
•National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Help Center, 1-800-427-4661
•FloodSmart, 1-888-379-9531 or visit

NFIP Publications:

Answers to Questions about the NFIP - Provides a basic understanding of the NFIP and answers the most common questions.

Answers to Questions about Substantially Damaged Buildings - Provides guidance on how to properly determine if a building is substantially damaged in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program regulations.

What You Need to Know about Federal Disaster Assistance and National Flood Insurance

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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