FEMA approves million dollar grant for safe room at Dixie Attendance Center

(The following is a press release from the offices of Sen. Thad Cochran, Sen. Roger Wicker and Rep. Steven Palazzo.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) today announced a $1.0 million grant to construct a stand-alone community safe room just outside Hattiesburg.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved the Hazard Mitigation grant to construct the 5,000-square-foot safe room at the Dixie Attendance Center at 790 Elks Lake Road in Forrest County. The facility will be designed to shelter 750 people within a half-mile radius during emergency situations.

“Safe room construction throughout Mississippi is part of a broad effort to provide shelter during severe weather, like the deadly tornadoes that hit Hattiesburg a year ago,” Cochran said. “FEMA is working with Forrest County to construct a facility to protect hundreds of people, and I commend this federal investment in the Pine Belt.”

“In communities all across Mississippi, local governments are investing in storm shelters to protect their citizens from dangerous weather,” Wicker said. “As the Hattiesburg area continues to recover from last year’s devastating tornadoes, I am pleased FEMA will be contributing to this project that will help protect residents for years to come.”

“After witnessing the devastation caused by the tornadoes in Hattiesburg a year ago, I am glad to see FEMA is working with Forrest County to take proactive steps to protect Mississippians. This is an example of a great federal investment that will save lives during future severe weather events,” Palazzo said.

The project, which is expected to cost $1.18 million overall and have more than 3,500 square feet of usable space, will be built to withstand winds of 250 mph. In June 2015, FEMA awarded $85,050 for planning and design work.

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funding to states and local governments for long-term hazard mitigation activities designed to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters. Data shows that investments in hazard mitigation before a disaster creates a net savings of taxpayer dollars during post-disaster response and recovery periods.

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