All schools and state offices have emergency plans and our staff practice required drills annually; plans are reviewed and updated based on recommended improvements. Drills, which include first responders, are routinely evaluated to improve readiness. Parents/guardians, please familiarize yourselves with emergency preparedness plans at your school.

School closures​

​In the event of a local emergency or man-made problem such as a water main break that would prevent a school from safely operating, school principals working in tandem with the complex area superintendents make the call about whether a school needs to be closed. 

In the event of large-scale events such as a hurricane, the Hawaii State DOE works with its partners in state and county emergency management to make a determination on school closures. Many school campuses are designated emergency shelters; that activation is initiated by counties in consultation with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency​ (HI-EMA). Connect with your county's emergency response resources and information below:

​​​​​​Emergency drills

All schools conduct the following required drills (the video above provides an overview):

  • Lock Down: A lockdown takes place if an internal or external threat is identified at the school. All school doors are locked and students are confined to classrooms. No entry into or exit from the school will be allowed until an “all-clear” announcement is made.
  • Shelter in Place: Students take refuge in designated areas to protect them from hazardous materials or severe weather. No entry into or exit from the school will be allowed until an “all-clear” announcement is made.
  • Evacuation (including fire): Certain emergencies may require students and staff to evacuate the school. Evacuations are conducted when it is no longer safe to remain on campus. In the event the emergency continues and students are not able to return to campus, parent or guardian re-unification procedures will take place. Please familiarize yourself with your school’s unification procedures.
  • Earthquake: The protocol is to drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops. Learn more here.
  • Tsunami: For schools in tsunami zones, this is an evacuation drill to a pre-designated area away from the reach of tsunami waves. Learn more below.

Tsunami-zone schools

Schools that lie in tsunami zones practice evacuation based on a locally generated tsunami which is caused by a local earthquake, and could result in a tsunami with wave arrival between 10-30 minutes. All schools get out of the tsunami evacuation zone within 10 minutes and majority arrive at the designated site within 20 minutes. Parents are directed to not come to the campus as this exacerbates the problem.

  • Oahu: Kaaawa Elementary, Hauula Elementary, Sunset Beach Elementary, Haleiwa Elementary, Laie Elementary, Waialua Elementary, Waianae High, Waianae Intermediate, Nanaikapono Elementary, Iroquois Point Elementary, Maili Elementary, Ala Wai Elementary.
  • Hawaii: Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary, Keaukaha Elementary, Kahakai Elementary.
  • Maui: Kamehameha III Elementary.
  • Kauai: Hanalei Elementary, Kekaha Elementary.

Emergency information for families

Emergencies are a stressful time, but parents and caregivers should be assured that school staff is prepared through regular and updated drills. Parents and caregivers can help by doing the following:

  • Be prepared for an emergency
    • Ensure that your child’s emergency contact information is accurate and current.
    • All Department schools have emergency plans. Become familiar with your school’s emergency plan and parent/guardian reunification procedures in the event of a school evacuation.
    • Take time to prepare with your children your family's emergency plan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has valuable resources online here: http://ready.gov/kids.
  • In case of a school emergency: Although your first reaction would be to call or rush to your child’s school, please follow these tips:
    • DO NOT call or rush to your child’s school. Phone lines and staff are needed for emergency response efforts.
    • DO NOT phone your child. Staff and students are discouraged from using cell phone communication for safety reasons.
    • Tune in to local TV/Radio stations for official school news alerts.
    • Rely only on official communication from school or public safety officials.
    • Listen for official information regarding reunification with your child. Students will be released ONLY to parents/guardians who are documented as emergency contacts and who present a picture ID such as a driver’s license, military ID or passport.
    • Check the Department website for emergency updates.

Emergency brochures for parents​​

Contact Information

Maynard "Max" Mendoza

Phone: 808-784-5170

Email: maynard.mendoza@k12.hi.us

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