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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, December 31, 2001

School crisis plan gets help

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Central O'ahu Writer

KALAELOA — A nonprofit organization dealing with emergency preparedness at Campbell Industrial Park has donated $31,000 to Barbers Point Elementary School to upgrade the campus phone system to better handle potential emergencies.

The Campbell Local Emergency Action Network made the donation to the school this month. The group is made up of community leaders and 10 core businesses that operate at the industrial park.

The upgraded phone system will include an intercom feature and an outdoor speaker system, which eliminates the need for "runners" to deliver messages throughout the school.

"This upgraded communication system can be used throughout the year and will be particularly helpful in the event of emergencies, when timely, efficient delivery of messages to everyone on the campus is critical for faster response times," said Dave Hoffman, president of the Campbell Local Emergency Action Network.

Barbers Point Elementary principal Claudia Nakachi said the state Department of Education has tentatively allocated $1 million to upgrade facilities for a "shelter-in-place" at the school, scheduled for completion in August 2002.

The project, which would involve installing air conditioning in the school's library and some classrooms and providing air-tight sealing and upgraded air supply intake systems, would create safe, designated areas in the event of emissions from Campbell Industrial Park. The phone system will complement the school's shelter in place.

As for normal maintenance and repairs, the campus is undergoing reroofing and painting during the winter break. Students return to class Jan. 11.

In the past two years, the Campbell Local Emergency Action Network has distributed 300 emergency radios to industrial park tenants and surrounding neighborhoods and schools.

An equipment breakdown at an oil refinery in November 1995 resulted in the release of nearly 5 tons of sulfur dioxide into the air, sending nearly 30 people, including several Barbers Point Elementary School students, to St. Francis West Hospital with minor respiratory problems. The state Department of Health blamed the Chevron refinery.

Area residents since then have pushed for the creation of an on-site warning system. One of the more recent major incidents occurred Thanksgiving Day 1999, when 35 tons of sulfuric acid leaked from a storage tank at Brewer Environmental Industries.

Reach Scott Ishikawa at sishikawa@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2429.