about deadly Tennessee tornadoes. We've uncovered that Tennessee is spending
millions of dollars each year on something other states are calling
We've traveled around the country following this story from
tornado alley to the Governor's office. We outlined to Governor Haslam what
we've found out, that Tennessee has led the nation in tornado deaths in the past
ten years, yet we're one of the only states around that doesn't offer in-home
tornado shelter reimbursements.
"I will say this, I tend to be data
driven and if the facts show that other people are having better results, I
think we should look at it," said Governor Bill Haslam.
tells us he'll take a look at what we've uncovered about the way the Tennessee
Emergency Management Agency spends its millions in disaster prevention money.
After traveling to the heart of tornado alley, we found that Oklahoma puts its
money to use helping individuals purchase private in-home shelters.
very appreciative of that, I think that is money well spent, said Oklahoma
County Emergency Management Director David Barnes. Oklahoma emergency officials
tell us they offer 75 percent rebates, meaning a $2,500 dollar shelter will cost you around $600
bucks! In fact, Oklahoma officials are shutting down community shelters after
they've found that they put the public at more risk. They say encouraging
people to hit the road during tornado outbreaks has had deadly
Surprisingly, we found over the past 10 years TEMA has spent
$46 million dollars to build the same public shelters Oklahoma is shutting down.
"Good for Oklahoma," said TEMA Director James Bassham. He told us they won't
budge on their policy. "If people have the money and want to build a storm
shelter, they ought to build them a storm shelter," said Bassham.
a closer look. The $46 million dollars TEMA spent on public shelters protect
around 43,000 people. But if TEMA would have put that money toward rebates,
23,000 private shelters could have been funded protecting nearly 138,000
people. That's over three times more! A petition going around the state hopes
to change that policy after our story aired last week. The petition has gained
steam, up nearly 300 signatures."The petition is nice and interesting, but I am
always going to try to go back to the data. If the data shows that other states
are having better results that have similar conditions, you have to make sure we
are doing an apples versus apples comparison, and I would look at it," said
We've sent the governor's office our in depth research
and will stay on top of this story, as our investigation continues.
Wednesday, May 2 2012, 08:44 PM CDT
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