In the event of actual missile attack, students would 'shelter in place' at schools

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Saturday's missile alert mistake prompted the Department of Education to send out a reminder to parents about what they should do in the event of an actual nuclear attack.

In a letter sent to the families of more than 180,000 students, the department urged parents to avoid picking up their children in case of missile threats.

"If we're looking at a ballistic missile threat what we've advised our schools to do is locate areas in the schools that is probably the most safe in regards to the elements," said DOE spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz.

Parents that HNN spoke with say that shelter-in-place is probably the best options since that they probably would be forced to take shelter at work.

"For that situation, the missile yeah, you gotta keep it there because what else could you do. ... What else can you do?" said Winston Irebaria, parent of a Royal School student.

Added Laura Miyazaki, whose granddaughter attends Royal: "I feel that she would be safe here. Not more worse off than I would be where ever I am. I was on the freeway the last time traveling and it was kind of scary trying to pull over."

State Rep. Matt LoPresti has been urging his fellow lawmakers to update the state's disaster plans for more than a year. He said the DOE should start by identifying where exactly those shelters are in each school.

"Perhaps this is a first step for them but a whole heck of a lot more needs to be done," said LoPresti, whose district includes Ewa Beach. "What we need is shelters identified for people to know where to go. Websites crashed on Saturday because people didn't know where to go."

The DOE says that task will be spearheaded by school principals.

"They're going to know and locate and know exactly what area of that school is the best place for their students and staff."

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.