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Storm safe rooms coming to Mississippi schools

Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

A $7.4 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is aiming to make Mississippi schools safer.

FEMA has approved the grant worth $7,385,504 for the state of Mississippi to fund the construction of eight stand-alone safe rooms designed to withstand winds up to 200 mph at schools in Forrest County.

The grant will be used to build safe rooms at schools in Brooklyn, Hattiesburg, and Petal. The safe rooms meet FEMA design criteria and provide near-absolute protection in extreme weather events, including tornadoes and hurricanes.

FEMA will pay at least 75 percent of the cost of these projects. The federal share of the funds comes from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Statewide, FEMA, through the HMGP, has funded 51 school safe rooms in Mississippi. The grant is provided to states to reduce the loss of life and property after disasters.

A National Institute of Building Sciences report found that on average, every $1 spent on federally funded hazard mitigation grants saves $6 in future disaster costs.

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