Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The dangerous and neglected United States of America: Only about 10 percent of the homes in the City of Moore, Oklahoma have "below-ground storm shelters" - and the City's program to receive federal grants for storm shelters has been stuck for years

By Patrick

It does not take a rocket scientist to see what is going wrong these days in the United States of America.

This was the City of Moore in 1999, after a terrible tornado hit the City, with 44 people dead and about 500 people injured (click on photos to enlarge):

Find more pictures from 1999 at this website.

These are photos of the City of Moore right now:

More shocking pictures can be found at "The Atlantic."

Well, the the fact that so many buildings have been destroyed again was probably unavoidable in this case, as a category F4 or F5 tornado destroys virtually any house in its path.

But how can the citizens survive these monster tornadoes? They need a below-ground storm shelter, like these ones (from a google picture search):

So how many of these below-ground storm shelters are there in the City of Moore?

The website of the City of Moore knows the answer:

"Unfortunately, few homes in Moore have basements, and only about 10% or less have below-ground storm shelters."


This is especially unfortunate, as the City of Moore also explains on its website:

Unless you are in a mobile home or a portable building, normally the best place to take shelter is "in-place", right where you are. The best place to take shelter is in a basement or a below-ground location. (...) The City of Moore has no community (or "public") tornado shelters. This is due to two factors: Overall, people face less risk by taking shelter in a reasonably-well constructed residence! There is no public building in Moore which has a suitable location for a shelter. Yes, there is less overall risk by sheltering-in-place than by going to a community shelter. The average tornado warning time is generally only 10-15 minutes. That's just not enough time for a person to receive the warning, make a conscious decision to leave their home, gather the few things needed (family, keys, etc.), lock the house, get into the car, drive to a shelter (including possibly experiencing a traffic jam of others trying to get to the same shelter!), get out of the car, and make the way into the community shelter. In this scenario, there's a far greater likelihood of getting caught in your car when the tornado strikes!

Yes, that is understandable. The warning time is too short, and this means that people need their own shelters, if they do not want to put their life in the hands of God!

So then why do only about 10 percent of the homes in Moore have "below-ground storm shelters?" Anyone who looks at the pictures from 1999 knows that their lurks a deadly menace over the City which could return easily - as it did yesterday!

I really would like to go on a longer rant here, but you are all aware of the facts, so I can make it short:

A country which...

...spends for example an insane amount of money on the military each year (currently more than one trillion dollar in total)...

...and which for example spends - in my opinion - also a pretty insane amount of money for (at least!) 16 intelligence services (roughly 80 billion dollars in 2010, sharply rising each year)...

...but forgets that its own citizens need support, a good infrastructure and solid protection by the authorities...

...should change its course immediately!

It is not that the City of Moore has not tried to change the situation.

On the website of the City of Moore, the current status of the "Safe Room Rebate Program" is being explained. The situation looks like this: The problem is that this program apparently has been stuck for years - up until today.

Quote from the website:
Safe Room Rebate Program - Update Feb. 2013

UPDATE - February 2013

The City's safe room rebate program is still "on hold", with not a lot changed from our update of last May.

Our county-wide Hazard Mitigation Plan still has not been approved by the State and FEMA. There were changes to the Federal requirements for this plan that occurred while our contractor was writing the document; he has had to rewrite it. We've found that the FEMA requirements and their interpretations seem to be a constantly moving target, more so with the new wrinkles. We're still working out various wording changes with the State reviewers and hope to submit the final document in March.

However, the Plan is not our main obstacle. The Federal grant program which funds local initiatives such as ours is funded by monies set aside during Presidential major disaster declarations. Oklahoma has had few of these declarations in the past couple of years, so there is not a lot of grant money available.

Once our Plan is approved and grant funds become available, we will certainly proceed with our rebate program application.

Safe Room Rebate Program Status – May 1st, 2012

In October 2011, the City of Moore solicited names and addresses of Moore residents interested in receiving federal grant monies toward the installation of a Safe Room or Storm Shelter. We were required to collect the data prior to submission of the City’s application to FEMA.

For the City of Moore to be eligible for the federal funds, we are required to have a FEMA approved Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) on file. The City collaborated with other communities in Cleveland County on the HMP and it was approved in September 2006 and expired in September 2011. The communities of Cleveland County began the revision process of the new Hazard Mitigation Plan during the summer of 2011.


It is the desire of the City to assist persons who are in Moore to have a place to seek refuge from severe weather. To this end, the City is gathering interest forms as the first step in applying for a hazard mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. We intend to apply for 2 million dollars in FEMA funding which will assist approximately 800 Moore homeowners.

This particular rebate program is for residential homes. Rental and/or commercial properties are not eligible. If a homeowner is chosen for the program and the City is successful in securing FEMA funding, the homeowner will be eligible to receive up to $2500 in rebate upon installation and verification of final paperwork.

Come on, Americans! This situation is ridiculous, and there are probably many more "City's of Moore" within the USA! Supporting the citizens is not socialism! Giving the people a good infrastructure and good public services is not Marxism! However, spending billions and billions for overblown prestige institutions is just a waste! The citizens have to come first!

Also, making the rich pay their fair share of taxes is also not socialism. It is part of bearing shared responsibility for the well-being of the society.

If all parts of the society work together for the common good and use common sense, the battered United States of America can get back on track again. But at the moment, the American patient still appears to be suffering badly.

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