Hawaii schools not prepared to shelter children in event of nuclear strike

Hawaii schools not prepared to shelter children in event of nuclear strike
Published: Sep. 26, 2017 at 8:29 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 27, 2017 at 10:45 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As tensions continue to rise between the United States and North Korea, Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency has instructed residents to prepare for a nuclear strike by stockpiling 14 days worth of food, water and supplies – a standard the Department of Education says Hawaii's public schools cannot fulfill.

"I would say about 50 percent have something. From there, is anyone fully prepared for what the new expectation is? I would say no, not at this time," said Dann Carlson, the Department of Education's Assistant Superintendent for School Facilities and Support Services.

Right now, Carlson says it's up to each campus to figure out what kind of emergency provisions it needs, as well as how to store them. But without help from the state Legislature, he says, there's no way to stock every classroom with the recommended amount of supplies.

"This would come out of general funds. There are a lot of competing interests for general funds," said Carlson.

Representative Matt LoPresti (D-Ewa Beach) says it would be irresponsible of the government to not plan for this, but questions how much should be spent.

"Even if we knew it was going to happen, and we spent millions of dollars on it, it would not be enough for the kind of disastrous scenario we're talking about," said Rep LoPresti. "It doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything. It means we should be talking about it and figuring out what's appropriate."

Many of parents we spoke with said the state should take steps to prepare each school, while others argued the risk of an attack is so low the money would be better spent elsewhere.

"As a parent I always think safety should be first and foremost," said Lisha Moffat.

"I'm not sure to what extent we need to spend a lot of money at this point," countered Brian Wong.

Carlson declined to venture a guess as to how much it would cost to equip every classroom in the state with the recommended amount of supplies, but he plans to have that figure ready to present to the legislature before the spring.

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