Get out the alert by any means
An incident at the University of Hawaii-Manoa displays the need for better plans to alert those on campuses.
NOTIFYING students, faculty and staff about an emergency or a threat should encompass as many methods as needed to assure the majority of people at the University of Hawaii-Manoa get the message.
Measures for transmitting alerts also should be implemented at all of UH's campuses, including Hilo and community colleges. While an incident last week involved the Manoa facility, general procedures as well as specific plans for each campus need to be established and everyone informed of them.
After a man was reportedly overheard threatening to kill students at Manoa, UH officials issued an alert via e-mail to 20,000 students and 7,000 staff and faculty, but some had not checked their phones and other devices until hours later. The threat was not carried out and a suspect was later arrested.
The episode should serve as a drill for officials, who are still working out various plans, about what more can be done. Low-tech methods, like public address systems in all buildings, which isn't the case right now, and verbal warnings from security guards, some of whom were not informed of the situation, ought to be standard.
UH officials reacted appropriately by not canceling classes or taking more drastic steps that could have caused panic. While it is difficult to gauge levels of danger without considering each event individually, every person on UH's campuses should be aware of procedures to keep safe.
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