It is possible to build shelters without federal funding; and it is happening in Norman, Oklahoma. See: Schools think outside the FEMA-funded box when building tornado shelters
For the past 23 years, Edmond Public Schools has added tornado shelters to every new school building project. None of those shelters have been built with Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars.
FEMA funding is great when it’s available, but some FEMA requirements for federally funded shelters add to the cost without contributing to structural safety, school officials and architects said.
“The movement to build safe rooms in Edmond schools began in 1990,” said Dr. David Goin, Edmond Schools superintendent.
This article features a discussion of how Joplin, MO managed to include shelters in a large percentage of the buildings rebuilt after the devastating tornadoes in that community two years ago.