As the two-mile wide, EF-5 tornado changed the landscape of Moore, Heather Rhoads watched TV from work.
"I knew it was going to hit the house and possibly the school," said Rhoads.
Meanwhile, Courtney Fristad had an internal debate about her daughter.
"I went back and forth all day on if I should get her and my nieces and nephews, who go to Moore," said Fristad.
As for Rhoads, she and her kids stayed where they were. "I waited for it to go over while they took shelter in the school," said Rhoads.
Both Rhoads' and Fristad's kids were inside the Plaza Tower Elementary school.
The tornado ripped apart the building and claimed seven lives.
Two years earlier, Rhoads and Fristad tried to prepare for something like this happening when they signed up for the SoonerSafe program. It started in 2011.
The program allows people to sign up and receive a rebate after installing a storm shelter. The program is paid for through federal dollars and run by the state.
RELATED LINK - What is the SoonerSafe program? (http://bit.ly/160b17G)
"Over the last two years, we've done over 500 rebates each year, so that's 500 families, about 1,100 we've done," said Albert Ashwood, the Director of Oklahoma Emergency Management.
While the program has helped 1,100 families, the 2NEWS Investigators obtained the waiting list for the program. It has 22,000 people waiting across the state of Oklahoma.
"We're only drawing 500 a year, so we're never going to meet that need," said Ashwood.
Since so many are waiting, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management randomly selects who gets a shelter. In fact, 1,600 people are on the waiting list in Moore alone.
The 2NEWS Investigators took a look at the one-square mile hardest hit by the Moore tornado. We found in just that area, 57 people applied for the SoonerSafe program, but only one actually got help from the program.
View Moore tornado area in a larger map
"Wow. That's crazy. I just can't believe that. I don't know what happened with that, like, why they didn't select more?" said Fristad.
She's one of the 56 waiting, so is Heather Rhoads. Many of them have been waiting since the program started in 2011.
"The years went by and I never heard anything from them. I called a couple of times and they still said they hadn't made any selections yet," said Fristad.
In fact, the 2NEWS Investigators found many of the the people were never told that the shelters weren't coming.
"If they're not going to pick so many or whatever, somehow notify the others that have registered that they've already made their selections, and you weren't selected," said Fristad.
But that isn't Fristad's only concern. She also wants to know why more people aren't getting help from the SoonerSafe program.
The state says it comes down to money. There are two FEMA programs that fund SoonerSafe.
"Most of our funding for mitigation comes from disasters already being declared, so you can't count on disasters always being declared," said Ashwood.
Making it worse, Ashwood says the other FEMA fund that pays for the program is at risk of getting cut.
Still, the head of the state's emergency management says, "This is strictly an incentive program. You should not sit back and wait. If it's something you can afford like a safe room, the bottom-line is, it's an insurance policy you only have to pay for one time. It's either importance or priority in your life that you can afford or it's not," said Ashwood.
Fristad says that's easier said than done. Storm shelters don't come cheap.
"My husband did not want to get it because of the finances, because of all the money it was going to cost," she said.
Fristad went ahead and got a shelter on her own. It cost $2,500 and that's on the low-end. She got it just one month before the May 20th tornado hit Moore. It helped make her decision that day, about whether or not to pick up her daughter from school.
PHOTOS: The aftermath in Moore (http://bit.ly/may20photos)
"I picked her up last from Plaza Towers, and we got there 20 minutes before the tornado hit," she said.
She says they got into the shelter just in time, "We could just hear the tornado over us within a few minutes."
Meanwhile Rhoads' children were in Plaza Towers when the tornado hit, and she looked for them as soon as she could get there.
"It took me three and a half hours to find them."
They were safe. Eight-year-old Alex was a little banged up, but okay. Seven-year-old Leighanne, her daughter, was scared but okay too.
As for her home, only one wall was left standing. She says if she'd had a shelter, her kids would've been in it.
Rhoads and Fristad just hope Congress and the state find the funding for more shelters.
"It's the difference between life and death. It's that crucial," said Rhoads.
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