Program Eligibility

Homeowner Eligibility

The homeowner participants:

  • Must own both the structure and land.
  • Cannot be a renter.

Property Eligibility

The participant property:

  • Must be a single family or duplex residence. Multi-family residences or non-dwellings are not eligible.
  • Must be located in Rowlett.
  • Cannot be completely located within the 100-year floodplain per FEMA's effective or preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). If a property is only partially within the 100-year floodplain, it may still be eligible under the program. However, only an above-ground safe room that is at least two (2) feet above the base flood elevation will be eligible for a rebate under this program.

A State Historical Preservation Officer (SHPO) clearance will be required for selected participants residing in a structure that meets any of the following conditions:

  • The structure is 45-years-old or older or in a historic district and the safe room is an exterior safe room that abuts or attaches to a structure or is a safe room that is highly visible from a public right-of-way (i.e. an above ground safe room in a front or side yard).
  • The safe room will be installed in undisturbed soils. Lots already significantly disturbed for house construction, driveways, septic systems/utilities, planned residential development are examples of previously disturbed soils.

Any selected participant installing a safe room prior to the SHPO clearance and final approval are not eligible for a rebate under this program. Therefore, Rowlett OEM will not send a notice to proceed to a participant until it has obtained the SHPO clearance. Rowlett OEM will obtain the SHPO clearance on behalf of the participant.

A property is not eligible for this program if a safe room was previously installed using federal grant dollars.

Safe Room Eligibility

The installation of prefabricated, above-ground safe rooms will provide participants with the fastest approval process. However, other types of safe rooms are eligible under this program.

All safe rooms will require a building permit and must comply with current codes.

Program participants will not be allowed to self-build or self-install a safe room.

Under this program, a safe room:

  • Must be outside of the 100-year floodplain per FEMA's effective or preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). See the property eligibility section above for more details.
  • Must be located above ground on a first-floor elevation or below ground. Safe rooms built or installed on a second floor are not eligible.
  • Must have a maximum occupancy rating of sixteen (16) occupants. The minimal useable floor area per safe room is three (3) square feet.

All safe rooms must comply with guidance contained in the following publications:

Builders and installers of residential safe rooms under the Rowlett program must certify compliance with the specific standards of the publications listed above dealing with doors, foundations, anchoring, buoyancy and other technical requirements including:

  • Door assemblies of the safe room must pass ICC 500 to meet or exceed FEMA safe room criteria
  • Above ground safe room foundations must meet ICC 500, Section 308.1.1.1.
  • Post installed anchors must comply with ICC 500 and Chapter 17 of the American Concrete Institute standard ACT 318-14
  • Underground safe rooms meet ICC 500 Section 303.3; designed to resist buoyancy and hydrostatic loads.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management Certificate of Installation and Inspection form is required to provide proof of compliance with all FEMA and ICC standards.

  • The certificate must be signed by the builder of safe room or the installer of a prefabricated safe room and notarized.
  • No other certification of installation is acceptable.

Rowlett OEM reserves the right to contact contractors and installers of residential safe rooms to request documentation of design and testing standards of any certified safe room.

If you are unsure about where to install a safe room, please email us