There have been multiple alerts this year which have warned residents in Hawaii of flash floods, a missile attack, tropical storms, and several hurricanes. Despite the fact no devastating damage was caused to the campus, both the Public Safety Department and more than half of interviewed students agree alerts cannot be disregarded and preparation for emergency situations needs to be done.
Sifa Talakai, a senior supervisor of Public Safety, said the biggest danger isn’t the hurricane or tsunami, but an attitude that pays less attention to alarms. “Once we let down our guard, once we decide ‘Oh, it’s just another false alarm,’ we might fall prey into danger.”
Julian Skinner, a senior from Australia studying political science, said he trusts the alerts and the professionals who send the alerts out. “Disasters are closely monitored by government professionals and they have much better understanding than I. If they send out an alert, they’re doing that for our safety. I’ll still treat it seriously.”
When asked about his experiences with the hurricane alerts and false missile alarm in the past, Skinner replied, “It’s better to be safe. I’d rather be prepared than not prepared.”
Skinner said the presence of the alert system in times of emergency is important. “If [people from the government] don’t send out an alert, I don’t know and I won’t be prepared. In the worst case, I could die. I’d rather be alive.”
Jared Tan, a freshman from Malaysia majoring computer science, said he’s not afraid of hurricanes here in Hawaii because he’s seen typhoons in Taiwan which have caused more serious damage when he served his mission there.
Although alerts in Hawaii have less and less credibility in his mind, Tan said he would still pay attention to disasters because of his lack of experience in facing disasters. “In Malaysia, there is no typhoon, earthquake or anything. I haven’t faced many disasters so I’d still care. I have been storing food according to the church’s advice.”
Rex Yamamoto, a sophomore from Japan majoring in computer science, also said he didn't think the storms in Hawaii are serious enough to lead to death. “I’ve served a mission here. I haven’t seen a big storm on the island. Maybe there is heavy rain, just a lot of water, but not enough to sink you down.”
However, Yamamoto said he’d still follow the school’s direction and do what they tell him to do when a disaster alert comes next time.
Haydn Klein, a freshman from Nevada studying biomedical science, said he doesn’t worry much about the alerts now. He recalled of his preparation before Hurricane Lane came. “Especially as an RA, we were told it could be bad, but then we did all the preparation for nothing. I don’t trust alarms anymore.”
However, Klein said he knew his attitude of ignoring the alarms could actually a bad thing.
Students in the male’s hales came out from their rooms when the emergency alarm rang at 7 p.m. on Sept. 3 but after that, no fire or any kind of accident was found in the hales. On Sept. 4 at 2 a.m., the emergency alarm rang again, waking up students.
However, once more, there was no actual emergency situation. The alarm was triggered simply because of a technical problem, Klein, an RA of Hale 5, explained. “This is an alarm for the whole hale. It can be activated in times of fire, tsunami, flash flood, and other disasters, but we were just having a computer problem.”
Ingyu Jung, a resident of Hale 5 and a freshman from South Korea majoring in accounting, said he didn’t want to move at all when the alarm rang in the middle of the night. Jung recalled, “I just laid in my bed. It rang the day before too and nothing happened so I didn’t care [when it rang for the second time.] I just wanted to sleep.”
Talakai encouraged students to stay alert and not to disregard alarms. He compared the situation with living the gospel. “It’s the same way with the gospel. Once we decide to watch an R-rated movie, we think it’s not going to harm us. And then we go to places we shouldn’t be. That’s when the advisory infiltrates our armors.”
Public Safety encouraged all students to download the app “Everbridge” on App Store or Play Store. Talakai said the app can warn users of pending dangers and emergency situations and it is important to students, faculties, and people who live here.