FEMA Funding for Community Tornado Shelters - An Engineer's Aspect


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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FEMA Funding for Community Tornado Shelters

Tornado season is upon us once again.

Yesterday morning, David South and I drove to Branson, Missouri to discuss using FEMA money to help fund a Monolithic Dome tornado shelter. After several meetings and a small tour of Branson and its main tourism strip, we decided to go ahead and drive through the night back to Texas, rather than get a hotel room.

Good decision.

During the night, a tornado ripped through the city of Branson, damaging houses and many buildings along the main tourism strip, including the convention center.

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According to National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, 15 confirmed tornadoes touched down across Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana overnight.   KY3 News reported that Skaggs Regional Medical Center in Branson, Missouri, treated 33 people in the hours after a tornado hit Tuesday night.

Are you living in tornado country?

A must-read for everyone who is living in the path of tornadoes is "FEMA-Design and Construction for Community Shelters and Its Application to Domes" by Dr. Arnold Wilson, Ph.D, SE, thin-shell engineering pioneer.

Carol Lanham reported earlier this month that FEMA funded a second Monolithic Dome for the Archie R-V School District in Missouri.  

Another helpful article is the story of how Woodsboro ISD managed to get a FEMA grant of $1.5 million to build a Monolithic Dome multipurpose center/disaster shelter, "Getting a FEMA Grant: Woodsboro’s Story."

Architect’s rendition of Woodsboro’s dome — Architect Lee Gray, of Salt Lake City, UT, deigned Woodsboro’s multipurpose center that serves as a school and community disaster shelter. Its 18,376 square feet can shelter 2,625 people. Woodsboro received a FEMA grant of $1.5 million to help with its construction.

This notice was in The Monolithic Dome Institute's latest newsletter: 

"FEMA Grant: Application Deadline is March 23, 2012 Is your school in tornado country? Many Texas counties are. According to the state Mitigation Plan with the Texas Department of Public Safety, if your county is north of a line drawn from Calhoun County to Winkler County, you may be in a tornado-prone area. If so, that may make your community and its schools eligible for FEMA money to build a tornado-safe Monolithic Dome school building. BUT you must have your application in by March 23, 2012 for this round of grants. The next round will not be for 6 to 10 months. If you need help, please contact us immediately."

Bottom line:  There is no reason your community cannot have a safe haven for residents to shelter people from the most violent of storms.