Will schools be ready if disaster strikes? False alarm prompts call for action

If a missile was launched while your kids were in school, what would you do?

It’s a question parents are asking themselves since since Saturday’s missile-alert mistake.

The Department of Education sent a letter home to parents, informing them that if the worst should happen, its plan is simple: shelter in place.

“With regard to any Shelter-in-Place situation, parents and guardians are also advised to Shelter-in-Place where they are (i.e., home, work, etc.) and avoid picking up their children at school. While it is extremely difficult to adhere to this advisement, please know that this is in the best interest of your children.”

But are schools equipped to care for our kids in such an emergency? Some lawmakers want to make sure they are.

Lawmakers put together a bill that would require all public schools to:

  1. Come up with a disaster and attack preparedness plan by Sept. 1, and
  2. Maintain at least a 48-hour supply of emergency goods.

Read House Bill 1728 in its entirety here.

Rep. John Mizuno helped introduce the bill and admits for schools to actually meet this demand, it would come with a hefty price tag.

“Four or five million dollars to possibly foot the bill for 48 hours of food that we know we may not even use,” he said.

Mizuno says to help cover costs, schools can work with parents and the community for donations, then later donate anything that expires to organizations that help the homeless.

But where would the supplies be stored and what kind of supplies would be necessary?

Mizuno admits that the bill isn’t perfect, but he believes by talking about planning for the worst, it will start a larger conversation between parents and schools.

“At the end of the day, it tells us, do you have a game plan at all? Are you prepared, and what if this did happen, what are the protocols in place?” he said.

The Department of Education declined our request for an interview.

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