The University of Hawaii at Hilo will conduct a campus-wide active shooter drill later this month.
Done in coordination with the Hawaii Police Department, the exercise will initiate the school’s “active shooter response,” campus lockdown and emergency response protocol.
According to a notice posted on the UH-Hilo website, the Feb. 22 drill will test the effectiveness of the university’s emergency operations plan.
“UH-Hilo has not conducted an exercise of this type or scale before,” said interim Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Kalei Rapoza.
The university did, however, conduct a smaller emergency exercise last July in anticipation of the larger drill, he said.
“We chose to conduct the campus-wide exercise in February because we want to involve as much of the campus community as possible.”
Rapoza said such exercises help train people and raise awareness as to what to do in emergencies.
He could not provide a specific time that the exercise will happen, but said the university will go through the “necessary steps to provide an ‘all clear.’”
“People should expect a rapid response from campus security as well as the Hawaii Police Department,” Rapoza said.
“As we stated in our communication notifying students and university employees of this exercise, the exercise will appear real, so we want people to be aware of this so to avoid distress to witnesses.”
The university will increase the number and frequency of reminders to students and employees as Feb. 22 approaches.
During the drill, Rapoza said various means of communication will be used, including email and text alert, website and social media messaging and on-campus alert systems.
Neighboring schools will also be informed.
“We plan on continuing at least annual exercises in the future to better train our campus community and educate our ohana on the steps to take in case of emergencies,” Rapoza said.
The university’s emergency operations plan outlines responses for a variety of scenarios, including fire, earthquake, severe wind storm, hurricane, tsunami or flood, volcanic eruptions, hazardous material incidents, major utility outages, explosions or threat of explosion, bomb threat, bioterroristic threat, workplace violence, shooting incidents, civil disturbances or labor strikes and even war.
View the full plan online at hilo.hawaii.edu/emergency.
Email Stephanie Salmons at firstname.lastname@example.org.