UH touts e-mail, phone and PA warnings
The university says it can get the word out if gunfire erupts at the Manoa campus
If a gunman opened fire on the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus, campus security would notify Honolulu police, cordon off the area to restrict access and evacuate those affected, a school official said yesterday.
But what happens beyond that would depend on campus leadership, UH spokesman Gregg Takayama said.
Students at Virginia Tech complained that school officials did not warn them a gunman was loose on campus yesterday until hours after the gunman started his shooting rampage in a university dormitory. The rampage ended two hours after it began on the opposite end of the 2,600-acre campus.
During an emergency, UH administrators can notify faculty, staff and students on campus through e-mail, telephone and even through the broadcast news media, Takayama said.
If the chancellor decides there is a need to notify people on campus that there is still a danger, the most immediate means of alerting them would be through e-mail.
"It takes a couple of minutes and requires typing it out and notifying the system administrator," Takayama said.
It also requires people to be online.
A second method of notification, according to the campus' emergency operation plan, is through a phone tree that starts with the chancellor and works its way down the chain of authority, Takayama said. But that could take a while.
Another means not spelled out in the emergency plan but which could be more immediate is using the local broadcast media, for whoever is listening to radio or watching television.
University officials also identified other tools at their disposal for spreading word of an emergency on campus.
Campus security officers can spread out on campus and make announcements using mobile loudspeakers. School officials can also tap into the internal public address sound system in the Campus Center. The Campus Center also has speakers that can be heard in the surrounding area.
The latest event to trigger the use of the Manoa's emergency notification system was last October's earthquakes. University officials activated the phone tree to get the word out about the quakes and the accompanying loss of power and damage to some buildings, Takayama said.
The emergency alert could have been activated for the 2004 Halloween eve flood, but nobody would have been around to hear it, he said. Officials did, however, utilize the phone tree to notify staff and faculty of possible damage to their facilities, Takayama said.