Tarrant County residents, now might be the time to build that tornado safe room you've been thinking about.
The county is offering federal money to help homeowners afford tornado safe rooms. The program, which is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, reimburses homeowners for half the cost, up to $3,000.
Many companies offer certified tornado safe rooms. StormBlocker's Mark Latham says they are safer than the small interior, windowless room that is the safest place in a storm in most homes.
"A home -- even (during) a small tornado -- is going to be either impacted, taken off the slab, and something like this is still going to be there," said StormBlocker's Mark Latham.
For about $6,000, Grapevine-based StormBlocker can build a tornado safe room big enough to protect a family of four using reinforced fiberglass composite panels capable of withstanding winds up to 250 mph.
"It covers the entire outside of the room," Latham said. "It goes on a reinforced framing system. We have a heavy-duty door, so that the entire structure can take wind load and also debris."
Tarrant County has $400,000 available for the rebates. Homeowners and developers can apply on the county's website.